Dominant pitching performances by the Astros' Justin Verlander and the Nationals' Max Scherzer over the weekend helped seal the pair's claim to Player of the Week presented by W.B. Mason honors on Monday.In the American League, Verlander wrapped the week by striking out 11 batters and allowing one hit --
Dominant pitching performances by the Astros' Justin Verlander and the Nationals' Max Scherzer over the weekend helped seal the pair's claim to Player of the Week presented by W.B. Mason honors on Monday.
In the American League, Verlander wrapped the week by striking out 11 batters and allowing one hit -- a solo homer by Robinson Chirinos -- in eight innings against the Rangers. He took a no-decision, however, as the Astros scored only one run in the 3-1 defeat. He became the first Houston pitcher to strike out at least 11 batters while giving up no more than one hit and without issuing a walk.
"That was a good performance by J.V. with no margin for error, literally," Astros manager AJ Hinch said.
Verlander's Sunday performance followed up seven scoreless innings and nine strikeouts against the Twins on Monday. He allowed just four hits and walked one in the 2-0 Astros victory.
Scherzer, meanwhile, was recognized in the National League for his own pair of stellar outings. He tossed a two-hit shutout with 10 strikeouts against the Braves at Nationals Park on Monday, then held the Rockies to two runs and struck out 11 batters in seven innings Saturday.
• Past winners: AL | NL
In the first outing, Scherzer also stole the first base of his career. He joined the Astros' Nolan Ryan (on May 16, 1984) as the only pitchers to pitch a shutout, strike out 10 or more batters and steal a base in the same game.
"I mean, that's a guy, that's a player," Nats catcher Pedro Severino said. "He's awesome. He can pitch. He can hit now. He can steal second, too."
The only two runs Scherzer allowed last week came on a home run by Charlie Blackmon in the first inning Saturday. That would be the last hit Scherzer allowed in the game as he retired the next 20 batters he faced to finish off his third double-digit strikeout performance of the year. He's only the 13th pitcher in MLB history with at least 10 strikeouts in three of his team's first 15 games.
Chad Thornburg is a reporter for MLB.com based in Los Angeles.