How Max Scherzer Made History With His Second No-Hitter of 2015
If the 2015 season has been a complete and utter disaster for the Washington Nationals, at least they got one thing right when they brought Max Scherzer on board.
On Saturday, against a New York Mets team fighting for home field advantage in the NLDS, Scherzer nonetheless made history once again, throwing his second no-hitter of the season. He became just the sixth pitcher to throw multiple no-nos in the same year and the first since Roy Halladay in 2010, joining Nolan Ryan (1973), Virgil Trucks (1952), Allie Reynolds (1951), and Johnny Vander Meer in 1938, the only pitcher to throw a no-hitter in back-to-back starts.
Of course, not everyone was impressed.
Kudos to M. Scherzer for completing his third whole big boy game of the season and improving his record to one win over .500.
— Old Hoss Radbourn (@OldHossRadbourn) October 4, 2015
Scherzer is now the 32nd pitcher to have multiple no-nos to his credit, and this one could have been a perfect game. Only an error by Yunel Escobar in the sixth inning prevented that. Even more astonishing, Scherzer piled up 17 strikeouts with no walks in Saturday's no-hitter, tying Ryan for the most K's in a no-no.
— MLB (@MLB) October 4, 2015
And if we're looking at Bill James' always-fun Game Score (a numerical formula aimed at ranking the best pitching performances in baseball history by assigning point values to innings pitched, strikeouts, walks and hits), Scherzer's gem comes close to being the very best nine inning regular-season performance in baseball history.
Only Kerry Wood's legendary 20-strikeout, no-walk, one-hit performance in 1998 rates higher than Scherzer's gem. (Keep in mind, James himself only created this Game Score for fun; this is not a definitive list of the greatest pitching performances of all time.)
What Scherzer has done for the Nationals this year is simply incredible. While he won't challenge Jake Arrieta, Zack Greinke or Clayton Kershaw for the National League Cy Young Award, he did go 14-12 with a 2.79 ERA in 228 2/3 innings pitched, striking out 276 and walking just 34. His fWAR among pitchers coming into Saturday was 5.7, tied with Greinke for third in the National League. And his nERD of 2.55 was tied for third in the Majors.
In addition to two no-hitters, Scherzer also tossed a dominant one-hitter earlier in the season that actually generated a better Game Score than his first no-no this year. That gives him three of the nine best pitching performances of the season.
And Saturday's effort was also the best of the seven no-hitters thrown this year, tying for the most no-hitters thrown in a single season in the live ball era.
So when the Washington Nationals put out their 2015 video yearbook, don't be surprised if it's just a re-telling of Max Scherzer's 2015 season; perhaps the only thing that went right in the Nation's Capital this year.