Can we all take a minute to appreciate Max Scherzer? What this man does on a routine basis is absolutely ridiculous. He is, in my mind, the best pitcher in baseball right now and frankly it’s not even close (alright, Verlander is right up there, but the point stands). Let’s check out what he did last night.
8 innings. 13 strikeouts. 99 pitches. 81 strikes. Allow me to repeat that. 81 of his 99 total pitches were strikes. Unless I’m seriously deficient in subtraction skills, I believe that’s 18 total balls in 8 complete innings of work. That’s a whopping 2.25 balls per innings.
Mad Max allowed just 2 earned runs on 5 hits and NO walks en route to his 10th win of the young season. He’s the only pitcher to reach double digit wins so far. Oh, and did I mention he threw an immaculate inning?
Nine pitches, nine strikes.
— MLB (@MLB) June 6, 2018
But enough about last night. Let’s take a step back and look at this psycho’s 2018 numbers. We’ve already established that he’s pacing the MLB in wins (10). In addition, he owns the third best ERA in baseball — an insane 1.95. His WHIP is a miniscule 0.83 and his batting average against is .171, both of which place him second in the Bigs.
The right hander is also leading the MLB in strikeouts with 133, which is 17 more than the next most K-inducing pitcher (Gerrit Cole, 116). If we assume Scherzer keeps up this frightening 10.2 K’s-per-start pace (13.7 K/9) and makes the same number of starts as last season (31), we can safely estimate that he’ll rack up 315 strikeouts this season. It layman’s terms… that’s a shit load of strikeouts.
But is it out of the question given Scherzer’s arsenal of filth and pinpoint accuracy? I really don’t think it is. Right now, Scherzer is throwing 5 different pitches with deadly accuracy, all with different movements and velocities. His fastball clocks in at an average of 94.7 mph, while his three breaking pitches (slider, cutter, curveball) come in at averages of 85.8, 88.9, and 79.2, respectively. Then, when you think you’ve got a feel for how the ball might break, he drops in an 84.5 mph changeup which very well might be magnetically repelled from the hitter’s bat.
Max Scherzer, 85mph Changeup and 88mph Slider (overlay) pic.twitter.com/SnAP5Q4d30
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) May 30, 2018
Simply put, hitters have no chance when Mad Max is on. And if the nastiness of his pitches isn’t enough, they say one look into his heterochromatic eyes is as deadly as having a three-way staring contest with Medusa and the Basilisk. I get a shiver down my spine just thinking about it.
Luckily, I’m not in the batter’s box when Scherzer is dealing. I get the distinct honor of watching a master at work from the safety of my home, through a television screen. I think we should all take a minute out of our day to pay respect to one of the greatest pitchers in the game right now.
Photo: Fox Sports