- - Thursday, June 20, 2019

Brian Dozier has played alongside a lot of great pitchers in his career, including three-time Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw while with the Los Angeles Dodgers last season.

But after 69 games as the Nationals’ second baseman this season, Dozier says he’s never seen anyone better than Max Scherzer.

“He’s the best pitcher in the game,” said Dozier, who broke into the majors in 2012.

Scherzer added another highlight to an already sparkling career Wednesday night with a performance that has already been christened the “Broken Nose Game.”

Scherzer threw 117 pitches — one shy of his career best — for seven shutout innings and 10 strikeouts in a 2-0 win over the Philadelphia Phillies in the second game of a day-night doubleheader at Nationals Park.



Just 28 hours earlier, Scherzer broke his nose when he fouled a ball off his face while trying to bunt during batting practice. He had a black right eye but gave the Phillies a knockout punch as he fanned the last three batters he faced on Wednesday.

Scherzer, 34, has won two Cy Young Awards with the Nationals and three overall. He has two no-hitters with Washington and had 20 strikeouts in another game.

But conversation in the baseball world and on D.C. sports radio airwaves Thursday centered on whether Wednesday’s game will turn out to be the most iconic moment of Scherzer’s career.

“It’s not everyday we get to witness what took place at Nationals Park last night. Max Scherzer is in a class by himself! His broken nose, black eye performance can be summed up in one word, LEGENDARY!” baseball analyst Bo Porter tweeted.

He wasn’t the only one on social media marveling at Scherzer’s tenacity.

“The [greatest of all time] signee in Washington pro team sports history. Period,” wrote ESPN’s Kevin Blackistone.

Jayson Stark, a longtime baseball writer now with The Athletic and MLB Network, was also impressed.

“I say all the time Max Scherzer is my favorite pitcher to watch in the whole sport. Tonight just added to his legend,” he wrote.

Everyone seemed to be praise Scherzer — except Scherzer himself, who just saw it as his job to pitch Wednesday night.

“Even when it happened, I was joking with [head athletic trainer Paul Lessard], and I was like, ‘If this happened in a game, I’d still want to pitch,’” Scherzer said.

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