WASHINGTON -- Max Scherzer notched yet another milestone Friday night as he builds an increasingly Hall-of-Fame worthy resume. He recorded the 2,500th strikeout of his career in the sixth inning of the Nats' 4-3 loss at Nationals Park, punching out Padres center fielder Manuel Margot on three pitches, including a
WASHINGTON -- Max Scherzer notched yet another milestone Friday night as he builds an increasingly Hall-of-Fame worthy resume. He recorded the 2,500th strikeout of his career in the sixth inning of the Nats' 4-3 loss at Nationals Park, punching out Padres center fielder Manuel Margot on three pitches, including a slider on the outside corner that froze Margot in the batter’s box.
Scherzer became just the 35th pitcher in MLB history to accomplish the feat and third active pitcher behind CC Sabathia (2,997) and Justin Verlander (2,752). And Scherzer became the third fastest by games and innings to accomplish the feat in big league history, trailing only Randy Johnson (313) and Nolan Ryan (338), according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
‘It's really cool,” Scherzer said. “It's stuff that you'll think about in the offseason a little bit more than you do now. Right now, you're just caught up in living it day by day, going through the season. But it's a cool milestone to reach.”
The fans at Nationals Park greeted Scherzer with an ovation as the video board in center field marked his accomplishment. And while Scherzer took a second to acknowledge the crowd, in true fashion, he seemed more focused on getting back on the mound and continuing his outing.
Scherzer continued piling onto his total even more, finishing his start with 10 strikeouts and no walks in seven innings, giving up two runs on four hits in 101 pitches. It was his second double-digit strikeout performance of the season and 84th of his career. Scherzer carried a perfect game into the fifth as he pumped fastballs into the upper 90s, maxing out at 97.5 mph for some of his best stuff of the year.
It was a nice rebound outing for Scherzer, who had an uncharacteristic start his last time around, when he allowed seven runs on 11 hits to the Marlins, and then he tweaked his left intercostal muscle dodging a foul ball between starts.
“Just the way he competes,” manager Dave Martinez said. “The way he goes about his everyday business. It's not just every fifth day, he prepares himself every single day and competes within himself every day. He's the best. He goes in there, he battles, never wants to come out of the game, of course. When you’re an opponent and you know Max Scherzer's on the mound, it’s gonna be a tough day.”
Scherzer finished the night tied with Gerrit Cole for the Major League lead with 54 strikeouts this season and at his current pace seems destined to continue racking them up for years to come. Sabathia will soon be the next member of the 3,000 strikeout club, of which there are only 16 members, but one day Scherzer could see his name join the exclusive list as well.
‘I just know I've got a lot more in front of me,” Scherzer said. “And I need to focus on pitching and what I'm going to do over the course of the rest of the season.”
Jamal Collier has covered the Nationals for MLB.com since 2016. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier.