Scherzer’s first half was historically great
Since 1913, 22 qualified starters have finished the first half of a major league season with at least 170 strikeouts and seven have finished a first half with a WHIP (walks plus hits per inning pitched) under 0.80. Only one, Nationals right-hander Max Scherzer, has done both in the same year. He’s entering this allstar break with 173 strikeouts and a 0.78 WHIP.
The list of statistics like those — the ones that place Scherzer not only in this era’s upper echelon but with the all-time elite — is long and varied. One stunning split, for example, is that he finished the first half having struck out 48 percent of the right-handed batters he faced.
All of that earned him a spot on the National League all-star team and makes a legitimate case for him to start the game. Manager Dusty Baker said that if Scherzer didn’t have the all-star break coming up, he wouldn’t have pushed him so late in Friday’s game.
Asked whether the high pitch count of 120 from Friday night affects his availability for the All-Star Game, Scherzer said he didn’t know.
“It could. You just got to come in tomorrow and see how it feels,” Scherzer said. “I think I’ve had a couple lighter loads past two, so it allowed me to be strong in this start. So it’s one of those things you got to wait and see.”
Scherzer is a part of baseball’s pitching pantheon these days, the most consistently dominant starter in the game during the first half of the season.
“I’ve had a great first half. I’m going out there and accomplishing new things. I’m throwing the ball well,” Scherzer said. “But I also know the rest of the league is making adjustments against me. It’s going to be a fight in the second half.
“They’ve seen the way I’m pitching a little bit differently, and now they’re making adjustments to that, and it’s going to be a grind in the second half, especially in the division. They’re going to keep grinding you hard.”