When you're as dominant a pitcher as Nationals ace Max Scherzer has been throughout his career, you're bound to leave your mark on baseball's record book.
That's been the case for Scherzer, who is one of the two or three most prolific pitchers of his era. He has reached heights that only a handful of pitchers in MLB history have reached, and he still has a few more years to go to add to his accomplishments.
Two of his most notable single-game achievements are his no-hitters and his 20-strikeout game. But if you ask him if he'd prefer to top his 20-strikeout performance or throw another no-no, he knows exactly which he'd prefer.
"Give me 21 [strikeouts]," Scherzer said on an appearance on The Chris Rose Rotation podcast. "I enjoyed my 20-strikeout game more than my no-hitters. When I reflect upon that, when I look backwards, that’s just a sign of getting after it to strike out 20."
For Lucas Giolito, one of the podcast's co-hosts and a former teammate of Scherzer's in Washington, there was no doubt what Scherzer was going to say.
"I knew that was going to be the answer," Giolito said immediately.
Scherzer's 20-strikeout game was the more rare achievement, for sure. Only three other pitchers in MLB history have struck out 20 batters in nine innings, including Roger Clemens (twice), Kerry Wood and Randy Johnson. It's a much more exclusive list than no-hitters, of which there have been over 300, though nearly 100 of those game prior to the start of the Live Ball Era in 1920.
Of course, throwing his third career no-hitter would also put Scherzer in rarified air. Only six pitchers have at least three no-hitters, and two of them pitched prior to 1920.
In general, Scherzer seems to prefer longevity and durability over that one special afternoon, though. In the same interview, he also admitted he would rather throw 4,000 career strikeouts than toss an elusive perfect game.
Either way, Scherzer appears poised to continue to make baseball history at least a few more times before his Hall of Fame career wraps up.