"Strikeouts are sexy," Max Scherzer told the media in his postgame press conference Wednesday night at Nationals Park. "To punch out 20 batters is sexy.”
Around here we tend to agree.
Scherzer became the fifth pitcher in Major League Baseball history to tally 20 strikeouts in a start Wednesday against the visiting Tigers -- his old team. He had a chance to capture the nine-inning MLB record with 21, but Tigers catcher James McCann grounded into a fielder’s choice instead to close out the 3-2 victory for Washington.
Scherzer did yield six hits, including two solo home runs, but this will still go down as one of the most dominant pitching performances of the 2016 season. And he joins an exclusive club of 20-strikeout starters that includes names like Roger Clemens, Randy Johnson, and Kerry Wood. Tom Cheney punched out 21 batters in 16 innings for the Washington Senators in 1962. Some of The Big Unit’s best strikeout performances also leaked into extras. However you slice it, Max did something truly historic on Wednesday.
The right-hander now stands 4-2 with a 4.15 ERA, 1.17 WHIP, and 66/15 K/BB ratio through 52 innings (eight starts) this season for the first-place Nats. We’d expect that ERA to settle in under 3.00 by the end of the year, or maybe by the end of next week. Scherzer’s next start will be Tuesday against the Mets, a team he dominated in 2015. He then gets the Marlins in Miami on Saturday. Hope you all bought low.
Editor's Note: Don't whiff on this special FanDuel offer: win your first contest or get your money back (up to $10) to keep playing. Try FanDuel now!
Angels Try To Beef Up Rotation
Congratulations and good tidings are in order for Jhoulys Chacin, who escaped the tired, poor, huddled masses of Turner Field on Wednesday afternoon in a trade that sent him to the Angels for minor league left-hander Adam McCreery. But now the pressure begins. Can he help an Anaheim rotation that entered play Wednesday with a 23rd-ranked 4.67 staff ERA? Can he give the Angels offense -- an offense led by Mike Trout -- a chance to win some games?
Anaheim lost its fifth straight Wednesday night against the visiting Cardinals, with starter Matt Shoemaker getting shelled for four runs on seven hits in four innings. Shoemaker now carries a 9.12 ERA and 1.12 WHIP in six starts this season at the major league level.
Chacin did have decent peripherals with the Braves -- check out the 27/8 K/BB ratio in 26 2/3 innings -- and his season numbers looked legitimately good before an eight-run drubbing last week by the Mets. His fantasy stock should at least get a small boost, but that’s assuming he performs like the hurting Halos are expecting him to.
Williams Perez took over Chacin’s spot in the Braves’ rotation on Wednesday and was terrific in a short-notice start against the Phillies, yielding just two hits over eight innings of one-run ball. But, yeah, we probably wouldn’t dabble there.
Ditch The Bag, Go Dyson
If you’re one of many fantasy baseball owners looking for a decent speculative add at closer, Sam Dyson of the Rangers might be the guy. He earned his first save of the season on Wednesday afternoon against the White Sox, yielding no hits and striking out one in a clean ninth inning that closed out a tight 6-5 victory. Shawn Tolleson, the current owner of the closer label in Arlington, Texas, had the day off after totaling 39 pitches between a pair of outings Monday and Tuesday night. Tolleson, though, has a 5.40 ERA and 1.50 WHIP in 13 1/3 total innings this season and he’s already blown two saves. Compare that to a 2.12 ERA in 17 innings for Dyson.
There’s been no hint of a change yet from Rangers manager Jeff Banister, but we’ll see what happens after another hiccup or two. Dyson, a hard-throwing right-hander, posted a 2.45 ERA and 104 strikeouts in 117 1/3 innings between Miami and Texas in 2014-2015. He is a proven, high-leverage-ready arm.
National League Quick Hits: 2015 National League MVP Bryce Harper was suspended one game Wednesday for returning to the field following his ejection on Monday, but he has appealed and will continue to play until the appeal is heard … Nolan Arenado slugged his 13th home run of the season on Wednesday against the Diamondbacks … Mets left-hander Steven Matz (elbow) will not make his next scheduled start … Billy Hamilton has returned home to be with his family following the car accident that took the life of his three-year-old nephew, K.C. Cole … Jake McGee picked up his ninth save of the season Wednesday in the Rockies' win over the Diamondbacks … Nationals second baseman Daniel Murphy went 3-for-4 with two RBI and raised his batting average to .409 in Wednesday's win over the Tigers … Giants manager Bruce Bochy said Wednesday that Angel Pagan (hamstring) should return this weekend … According to Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com, the Phillies could soon call up first base prospect Tommy Joseph … Andrew Cashner (hamstring) is questionable for his next turn in the Padres' rotation … Homer Bailey (elbow) will likely not resume his minor league rehab assignment for a month … Padres closer Fernando Rodney earned his ninth and 10th saves of the season Wednesday at Wrigley Field … Drew Pomeranz fanned 10 while shutting out the Cubs for six innings as the Padres swept a day-night doubleheader Wednesday against the Cubs … Cardinals starter Jaime Garcia allowed zero earned runs (two unearned) and struck out eight over seven innings Wednesday in a win over the Angels … Jake Arrieta reiterated Wednesday that he will not be offering the Cubs a hometown discount in extension talks … Noah Syndergaard went eight innings for a win Wednesday night against the Dodgers … Padres claimed C Hector Sanchez off waivers from the White Sox.
American League Quick Hits: Astros right-hander Lance McCullers (shoulder) is scheduled to make his season debut Friday versus the Red Sox … Todd Frazier needed five stitches on his lower lip after diving into the stands for a ball on Wednesday, but he is expected to be ready to play Friday … Rays second baseman Logan Forsythe remains day-to-day with a bruised left shoulder blade … Mark Trumbo slugged two home runs in the Orioles' 9-2 beatdown of the Twins on Wednesday … Glen Perkins (shoulder) is scheduled to throw his first bullpen session on May 23 … Jackie Bradley Jr. continued his tear Wednesday, collecting two homers, a double, and six RBI as the Red Sox crushed Oakland … Athletics placed 2B Jed Lowrie on the 15-day disabled list with a right shin contusion … Joaquin Benoit (shoulder) threw another successful bullpen session on Wednesday … Mariners catcher Chris Iannetta smacked a solo walkoff home run to end Wednesday's 11-inning victory over the Rays … CC Sabathia (groin) could be activated from the disabled list on May 20 … Dustin Pedroia had a two-run homer, a walk, a steal and three runs scored Wednesday against the A's … Tigers recalled left-hander Daniel Norris to pitch out of the bullpen … Danny Valencia remained sidelined Wednesday with hamstring tightness … Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto confirmed late Tuesday that top starting pitching prospect Edwin Diaz is being converted into a reliever … An MRI taken Tuesday on A.J. Griffin's right shoulder showed no major structural damage … Mark Teixeira was held out again Wednesday due to neck spasms … Blue Jays reliever Aaron Loup (elbow) is scheduled to begin a rehab assignment Saturday with High-A Dunedin … Mariners reliever Charlie Furbush (shoulder) is expected to head to extended spring training later this week … Astros first base prospect A.J. Reed has been placed on the disabled list at Triple-A Fresno with a pulled hamstring.