Max Scherzer was vying for his third career no-hitter Wednesday – which would have put him in elite company – but he lost the no-no, and the game, in a frustrating eighth inning against Miami. A chopper, an error, a wild pitch, a single from Giancarlo Stanton – that was all she wrote. The Nats lost, 2-1.
Still, Scherzer is 8-5 with a 2.09 ERA, a 0.81 WHIP and has 145 strikeouts in 107.2 innings. Scherzer’s ERA is the lowest in the majors among pitchers with at least 12 starts, and only Chris Sale (146) has more strikeouts.
Scherzer was already one of the best pitchers in the game, but now he might be something else.
“He might be the best pitcher in the game,” Bleacher Report MLB columnist Danny Knobler said on CBS Sports Radio’s Ferrall on the Bench. “Brian Kenny at MLB Network has been making that argument over the last few weeks, that Scherzer has surpassed Clayton Kershaw as the best pitcher in the game. When I first heard the argument, I said, ‘No way.’”
But then Knobler actually thought about it.
“The more I watched Scherzer over this latest stretch – six consecutive starts with 10 or more strikeouts and in that time an era under 1.00 – and when you put that together with not only what he’s done this year, but over the last several years, (he could be the best pitcher in the game),” Knobler said. “We’re talking (about) a two-time Cy young winner who has gotten better. His ability to pitch has been there for quite a few years but maybe even gotten better. And not just that. Max Scherzer has become . . . a guy who can go seven, eight, even nine innings.”
Scherzer had one complete game in 161 starts for Detroit. In Washington, he has seven complete games in 82 starts.
“Remember: when he came to the Nationals, he (didn’t have) the complete games,” Knobler said. “Now you’re seeing a guy who can really take over and is an absolutely dominating pitcher. He still gives up some home runs, but he’s one of the best pitchers (in the game) – and he might be the best pitcher right now.”
Scherzer, 32, will have to wait for his third career no-hitter. Only five pitchers in MLB history have at least three no-nos: Nolan Ryan (7), Sandy Koufax (4), Bob Feller (3), Cy Young (3), and Larry Corcoran (3).