Scherzer threw a so-called immaculate inning last season as well. The only other pitchers to throw two in a career, The Associated Press and ESPN reported, were Lefty Grove, Randy Johnson, Sandy Koufax and Nolan Ryan. Strong company.
“He’s a special dude, that’s for sure,” Matt Adams of the Nationals told The Washington Post.
Scherzer’s fine season has not come out of the blue. He won the last two National League Cy Young Awards (and he won an American League Cy Young Award, with the Detroit Tigers in 2013, as well). He led the league in strikeouts and WHIP in both of those years.
Yet this year he is managing to be better in just about everything. At age 33, he is on track for career bests in hits allowed, home runs allowed and strikeouts per nine innings, plus WHIP and E.R.A.
“This is the best I’ve thrown the ball in my entire career, but it’s only because I continue to get better every single year,” Scherzer said last month.
Digging into more advanced stats still does not reveal a flaw. There are those who contend that whether balls fall in for hits or turn into outs is largely dependent on luck. By this logic, the only “true outcome” stats are walks, strikeouts and home runs. Well, those just happen to be three of Scherzer’s best areas. In an average nine innings, he gives up two walks, less than one homer and strikes out more than 13.