Let's rank the best starts of Max Scherzer's three years with the Nationals
On Jan. 18, 2015, Max Scherzer agreed to a seven-year, $210 million deal with the Nationals. Sure, the righty was just two years removed from winning a Cy Young Award with the Tigers, but Washington already boasted a great pitching staff and Scherzer was on the wrong side of 30.
Three years, two more Cy Young Awards and one novelty cake later, and Mad Max has been one of the best and most durable starters in the Majors, posting a 2.76 ERA and striking out 828 batters (!) over 657 2/3 innings (!!).
So, in recognition of all that awesomeness, we've ranked his five most dominant starts wearing the curly W.
5. 6/6/2017 vs. Dodgers
The 2017 Dodgers spent most of the summer laying waste to everything in their path, at one point looking like they might even post the best regular-season record in MLB history. Of course, that's only because they played the majority of their games against pitchers that were not Max Scherzer:
Scherzer held Corey Seager, Cody Bellinger, Chris Taylor and Yasiel Puig to a combined 2-for-16 with eight K's, striking out 14 in all over seven innings of work -- and Washington needed every bit of his performance in a 2-1 win at Dodger Stadium.
4. 6/20/2015 vs. Pirates
It says something when a no-hitter can only claim to be your fourth-best start of the last three years. Of course, great as it was, it was this close to being something even better:
Jose Tabata's elbow aside, Scherzer struck out 10 Pirates to pull off his first career no-no -- and was rewarded with a chocolate syrup shower for his efforts:
3. 6/14/2015 vs. Brewers
And yet, somehow, that wasn't even the best start of Scherzer's week. Just six days earlier at Miller Park, he posted one of the most preposterous stat lines of the season: 9 IP, one hit, one walk, 16 K's, 109 pitches, 80 strikes. Just look at this nonsense:
It was very nearly a perfect game, until Carlos Gomez spoiled the party:
2. 5/11/2016 vs. Tigers
Some numbers have earned a sacred place in baseball history, reserved only for the best of the best: 300 wins, 500 homers, 3,000 hits. Kerry Wood and Roger Clemens were the only two pitchers to ever strike out 20 batters in a game -- until Scherzer joined them with a start for the ages against his old team:
1. 10/3/2015 vs. Mets
This list has already touched on one near-no-hitter and one actual no-hitter that Scherzer threw in 2015. That would be the high point of just about any player's season. Scherzer, however, is not just any player, but is rather a fire-breathing dragon bent on the destruction of any batters in his path. And so, in October, he managed to one-up himself against the Mets:
Yes, really: Not only did Scherzer fan 17 en route to his second no-no of the year, but he also struck out nine of the last 10 batters. Here's to another three years.