Two weeks ago, after another strong start from Max Scherzer, catcher Alex Avila summed up how it feels to watch a future Hall of Famer continually add to his resume.
“It seems like every start there’s something that Max is doing, whether it’s passing somebody or coming up to some milestone,” Avila said. “And that’s just a testament to his longevity, his ability to stay healthy, and be consistent. And it’s truly amazing.”
In the weeks following Avila’s point, Scherzer has added to his legend. Last week, he pitched a nine-strikeout, no-walk complete game hours before his wife gave birth to the couple’s third child. And then Saturday, Scherzer tore through the New York Yankees lineup, on his way to more milestones.
With 14 strikeouts in 7 1/3 innings, Scherzer became the fifth pitcher to strike out 10 or more batters 100 times. The illustrious company Scherzer joins: Nolan Ryan (215), Randy Johnson (212), Roger Clemens (110) and Pedro Martínez (108).
“It’s pretty cool to join that club,” Scherzer said. “But it’s tough for me to really put that in perspective. I think that’s more for other people, the other pitchers that pitched before me and obviously the guys after me. I don’t like to be getting involved in what that means; I think it’s more important to hear what other guys think it means.”
Scherzer needed four innings to reach the double-digit strikeout mark, and he struck out the duo of Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge a combined four times. Scherzer’s 14 punchouts is also a record for an opposing pitcher at the new Yankee Stadium.
“He had our number all game, except for [Kyle Higashioka],” who hit a solo homer off Scherzer, Judge said. “We just kept battling. Any close games like that, especially when they’ve got one of the best pitchers in the game, if you keep wearing it down and you get to that bullpen, I like our chances against anybody.”
Even with Scherzer’s dominance, the Yankees won the game in the 11th inning. They came back to tie the score in the ninth and 10th before winning in the 11th on a bases-loaded infield single.