Scherzer’s first half was his­tor­i­cally great

The Washington Post Sunday - - BASEBALL - Ex­cerpted from wash­ing­ton­post.com/na­tion­als — Chelsea Janes

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.”

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