- The Washington Times - Friday, July 28, 2017

Fifteen runs of run support for Max Scherzer would have made him happy on any day, but it was extra special considering it happened on his 33rd birthday. Standing at his locker following Thursday’s 15-2 beatdown of the Milwaukee Brewers, the Nationals starter said it was the perfect gift.

Scherzer, though, made sure to make his teammates take note of his offensive performance, as well.

“I told everybody I didn’t make an out today,” said Scherzer, who went 1-for-1 with two walks. “I don’t know if that’s ever happened for me. For me to get two walks, wow, something happened.”

Scherzer also accomplished another milestone Thursday, punching his 200th strikeout, which gave him his sixth straight season of 200+ strikeouts.

There are three active pitchers in the major leagues who have reached that mark, but Scherzer is the only one whose streak is ongoing. The Mariners’ Felix Hernandez has had his streak end in 2015, while the Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw had his streak ended in 2016.

The reigning National League Cy Young winner said his streak boiled down to consistency and executing with all four pitches.

“That’s a good size plateau to reach and (I’m) very appreciative to have the health be able to do this for six (seasons),” Scherzer said. “To be able year in and year out be healthy and have the stuff to be able to do that. The hard work I put in and all the coaches as well, catchers back there, all the coaches and video guys putting everything together. That’s the reason why. And the training staff as well. That’s why I’ve been able to achieve that.

“The point is going out there, being healthy, being durable. Where my stuff’s at right now, every pitch I have right now I really feel sharp with and really able to execute.”

Scherzer’s career-high for strikeouts in a season is 284, which he set last season. But considering it’s near the end of July and Scherzer will most likely pitch at least 12 more times, barring an injury, he could break that record if his pace holds.

Scherzer is averaging 9.6 strikeouts per game and has 201 total. He started in 34 games last season and has started 21 games in 2017. If Scherzer keeps his pace, he’d end the year with 326 strikeouts — the most since Randy Johnson’s 332 in 2002.

“If you look at some of the top guys in baseball, you think Chris Sale, you think Kershaw, you think Schezrer,” Bryce Harper said. “If there’s any guy that I want out there on the mound at any given moment, it’s Max Schezer. He goes out there, he does his job every single day.

“He prepares so well every single day. Doesn’t matter what the lineup is or who he’s facing. … Playing behind that guy for the last couple years, we’re very fortunate to be the team that he chose in free agency.”

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