WASHINGTON -- Max Scherzer's combination of dominance and durability has him in a class with one of the greatest pitchers ever to take the mound.
With his strikeout of Matt Carpenter to begin the Nationals' 4-3 comeback win over the Cardinals in extras on Monday at Nationals Park, Scherzer joins Hall of Famer Randy Johnson as the only two hurlers in history with five straight seasons of 250 or more K's. Johnson achieved the feat in six straight years (1997-2002).
Poised and humble, Scherzer selflessly made sure to heap praise on his training staff for helping him inch closer to another plateau, 200 innings. He's sitting at 193 1/3, so another seven-inning outing like the one he delivered on Monday will put him beyond that total in every season since 2013.
"That's pretty cool," Scherzer said. "Kind of like what I said when I got to 200 -- this is a time to tip the hat to the training staff, keeping me healthy, doing whatever it takes. ... Any time I have any little hiccups, we don't let it get out of control. We're always able to address it.
"They do a tremendous job in there of working with me. ... The strength coaches just making sure I'm always strong and in a routine and not letting me get out of it ever. Just taking care of business on that side of the clubhouse here. Those guys deserve a lot of credit."
Scherzer, the National League Cy Young Award winner in each of the past two seasons, recorded all three outs in the first inning via strikeout. Despite surrendering a two-run single to St. Louis shortstop Paul DeJong in the opening frame, he cruised thereafter, completing seven innings for the 12th time in 2018 and finishing with 11 strikeouts. The performance is his 15th of the year with double-digit K's.
Scherzer has won the Cy Young Award three times in his 11-year career, and has eclipsed 170 innings in every season since 2009. He narrowly missed out on tying Johnson, as he struck out 240 in '13 prior to beginning his streak.
"I've played with some guys who are really good, but he's one of the best right-handed starting pitchers I've seen and his work ethic is beyond anything I've seen," manager Dave Martinez said. "And that's daily. That's not just every fifth day. He's got a game plan for tomorrow all the way through his next start. I'm proud of him, it's well deserved."