Recently retired Gio Gonzalez has been bypassed on the Washington Nationals all-time wins list. We didn’t see a the dominant performance Max Scherzer spun the week before against the New York Yankees, which should have earned him this honor, though we did see five shutout innings in a game where his offense gave him plenty of support, making sure this win could not be lost to a blown save.
With his 87th victory in a Nationals uniform, Scherzer moved into fourth place in franchise history for wins by a pitcher. Second, behind Stephen Strasburg, if we are only counting players who have played on in DC.
Nationals pitcher Max Scherzer passes Gio Gonzalez on the team’s all-time wins list.
The opportunity for starting pitchers to collect wins has diminished over the years. With the money they are being paid, teams don’t push pitchers as hard or let them pitch deep into games like in the past. This can be seen by the drastic decrease in numbers of complete games across the league.
Specialty relievers have also taken a toll on innings pitched by starting pitchers. Bullpens have evolved from having a closer, to having a set-up man and closer, to being built where two to three relievers can bridge the gap between the starter and the closer.
More often we see starting pitchers leave games when their pitch count nears 100, and for Scherzer that could be in the fifth or sixth inning. He used 85 pitches to get through five and didn’t need to go any further, with his team comfortably up by eleven at that point.
For his time in Washington, Scherzer has climbed many an all-time list. He sits atop in WHIP, K/9, and Fielding Independent Pitching. In the final year of his contract he won’t catch Strasburg on the wins list (and Stras will add to his number as well), though Scherzer will go down as arguably the most dominant pitcher in team history.