The Nationals' Max Scherzer accomplished something even more rare than a perfect game on Wednesday night in Washington, striking out 20 Tigers in a complete-game victory.Naturally, the performance drew raves not only from Scherzer's teammates but from current and former players throughout the league.Kerry Wood is one of only three
The Nationals' Max Scherzer accomplished something even more rare than a perfect game on Wednesday night in Washington, striking out 20 Tigers in a complete-game victory.
Naturally, the performance drew raves not only from Scherzer's teammates but from current and former players throughout the league.
Kerry Wood is one of only three people who can fully understand what Scherzer was feeling, along with Randy Johnson and Roger Clemens. On May 6, 1998, Wood struck out 20 in a one-hitter against the Astros at Wrigley Field, and on Wednesday he sent his regards to Scherzer via Twitter.
"Congratulations to @Max_Scherzer on an impressive and dominant performance tonight," Wood wrote. "Welcome to the club! #Filthy."
:: Complete coverage of Scherzer's historic night ::
Clemens, who put together 20-strikeout games for the Red Sox in both 1986 and '96, did not watch the game but was glad to hear the news.
"Haven't seen it...But Fantastic!" Clemens wrote in a text message to MLB.com. "[Scherzer] has good stuff. So I'm sure his ball was moving and exploding in the upper part of the strike zone."
Although something as uncommon as a 20-strikeout performance is always unpredictable, Red Sox righty Rick Porcello was not too surprised that Scherzer was the latest to pull off the feat. The two were part of the same rotation in Detroit from 2010 to 2014, so Porcello saw Scherzer's skills up close.
"If I had to pick one guy in the big leagues to do something like that, it would be him," Porcello said. "When he's on, it's just absolutely wipeout stuff. His pure ability and talent alone make him capable of this. He's really the perfect combination of an intelligent student of the game and somebody who just has absolutely blow-away stuff. He's a beast."
Royals starter Ian Kennedy has been a teammate of Scherzer's on national teams, and they also are linked together by a trade. In December 2009, Kennedy went from the Yankees to the D-backs and Scherzer from Arizona to Detroit as part of a three-way deal that also sent Curtis Granderson to the Yankees.
"We played USA ball together a bunch, so I got to know him pretty well. And he lived in Scottsdale, [Ariz.], close by, so I would see him at functions," Kennedy said of Scherzer. "Twenty strikeouts -- it's what he does. I was telling [my teammates] that that's like three games worth of strikeouts. I mean, 10 strikeouts is a big game. Twenty? That's nuts."
In his previous outing, last Friday at Wrigley Field, Scherzer allowed seven earned runs and four homers to the Cubs over five innings. Chicago's John Lackey, the winning pitcher in that game, wasn't shocked that Scherzer was able to bounce back in such impressive fashion.
"He's really good. It doesn't surprise me much [that he struck out 20]," Lackey said. "The guy is really good, he's had some really good games. Guys like that, when they come off kind of a rough one, you don't want to be the next team facing him."
Andrew Simon is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AndrewSimonMLB.