Scherzer passes Cy Young on all-time K list

April 17th, 2021

WASHINGTON -- doesn’t rest his laurels on milestones, but when he passed Hall of Famer, Triple Crown winner and baseball icon Cy Young on the all-time leaderboards, it was more than just another strikeout.

“It’s pretty cool,” Scherzer said following the Nats’ 1-0 walk-off win over the D-backs. “I didn’t even know that was happening tonight.” 

Scherzer entered Friday’s matchup against the D-backs with 2,798 career strikeouts. He notched his eighth strikeout to lead off the seventh inning to tie Young at 2,806 punchouts for 22nd in Major League history. He caught the next batter, Eduardo Escobar, swinging for his ninth to move ahead.

The 14-year veteran reached the mark against the team for which he played his first two seasons. He tallied his first 240 strikeouts from 2008-09 as a member of the D-backs.

“For me, it’s just a test of durability to be able to go out there and just be durable, year in, year out and be able to execute pitches,” Scherzer said. “That’s what I take away from passing Cy Young -- obviously, one of the greatest of all time.”

Before Scherzer moved ahead of Young on the leaderboards, he already had an elite tie to the winningest pitcher in baseball history -- Scherzer was the recipient of the Cy Young Award in 2013, ‘16 and ‘17.

“It’s awesome,” manager Dave Martinez said. “I told him congratulations when he came out, and he kind of looked at me. I said, ‘Yeah, you just passed Cy Young.’ His response was, ‘Yeah, I have three of those on my wall.’”

Scherzer finished his third start of the season with 10 strikeouts over seven scoreless innings -- a testament to his pitch command on Friday and a big assist to the taxed bullpen.

Friday's performance leaves Scherzer just five K's behind Mike Mussina (2,813 strikeouts). He is second in strikeouts among active players, trailing only Justin Verlander (3,013).

“[It’s] a different game now than it was back then,” Scherzer said. “But to be able to do that, to me, it’s more than just pitching. It’s how you take care of your body, what you do to prepare and what you have to do.”

A consistent force on the mound, Scherzer has averaged 10+ strikeouts per nine innings every season since 2012. So what could be his next milestone? After Friday’s outing, he is one game shy of 100 career games with 10 or more Ks.