WASHINGTON -- It is a feat that had only been accomplished by 10 pitchers in the game's history and a streak requiring a unique combination of skill, good health and preparation.
Throughout his career, Nationals ace Max Scherzer has dedicated the necessary time and effort to preparing his body for heavy workloads. He's now been rewarded with six straight seasons of at least 200 strikeouts, adding yet another accomplishment to his already lengthy list.
With his strikeout of Wily Peralta in the fifth inning of the Nats' 15-2 win vs. the Brewers on Thursday, Scherzer became the 11th pitcher since at least 1901 to reach the plateu. He is also the 23rd pitcher since at least 1901 to compile at least 200 K's in six or more seasons in a career.
"That's a good size plateau to reach, and I'm very appreciative to have the health be able to do this for six [seasons], to be able year in and year out to be healthy and have the stuff to be able to do that," Scherzer said.
Scherzer, pitching on his 33rd birthday, is also the lone current hurler in the game to have an active streak of six consecutive seasons with 200 or more strikeouts. No one can tie him this year either, as he was the only one with five straight coming into 2017. He joins the Dodgers' Clayton Kershaw, the Tigers' Justin Verlander and the Mariners' Felix Hernandez in the exclusive club of active pitchers with six 200-plus strikeouts seasons.
"If there's any guy that I want out there on the mound at any given moment, it's Max Scherzer," said Nationals slugger Bryce Harper, who was in the line of four straight home runs during Washington's third-inning outburst off Milwaukee starter Michael Blazek.
The reigning National League Cy Young Award winner, Scherzer set a career high in 2016 with 284 strikeouts. But having already surpassed the 200-K mark with more than two months of baseball left to play, he has a legitimate chance to set another personal best in '17.
Scherzer is on pace for 326 strikeouts for the year, a total that would be the most for any pitcher in a season since all-time great Randy Johnson struck out 334 batters in 2002.
Scherzer logged more than 170 innings each year after his rookie season with Arizona (in which he made just seven starts), and he is on track to set a new career high in that category this season, as well.
A 10-year veteran, Scherzer has spent a total of 16 days on the disabled list since entering the league in 2008. There perhaps has been no pitcher more durable and more consistent in the game since the streak began.
"The hard work I put in, and all the coaches as well, catchers back there, all the coaches and video guys putting everything together," Scherzer said. "… That's why I've been able to achieve that."