Wednesday night at Nationals Park, starting pitcher Max Scherzer had another game for the MLB record books. He tied the record for strikeouts in a 9-inning start when he struck out 20 batters against his former team, the Detroit Tigers.
The only other players in MLB history to strike out 20 batters in a game are Randy Johnson, Roger Clemens (twice) and Kerry Wood. Scherzer joins only Randy Johnson as the only pitchers ever to have two no-hitters and a 20 strike out game.
He threw 199 pitches, 96 for strikes. He threw just 23 balls, the fewest of any of the five historic strike out games. Neither of the four pitchers to strike 20 batters out in a single game issued a walk. He had 33 swings and misses, the second most in a nine-inning game in the last 15 years.
He broke both his own Nationals record for strikeouts in a game which was previously 17 and also set the Montreal Expos single game record, which was previously 18, done by Bill Gullickson in 1980. To put that into further perspective, Scherzer now has three games in 41 starts of 15 or more strikeouts. The rest of the starting pitchers in Nationals/Expos history have done it just once in 7,475 starts.
Max fanned every batter in the Tigers lineup at least once, except for first baseman Victor Martinez. Five Detroit hitters struck out three times each, including the first three batters of the lineup in Ian Kinsler, J.D. Martinez and Miguel Cabrera.
With his win against his former team, he joins John Lackey as the only two active pitchers to beat all 30 MLB teams. His battering mate, catcher Wilson Ramos became the only pitcher in MLB history to catch three no-hitters and a 20-K performance.
Scherzer improved to 4-2 on the season and his Nationals improved to 21-13 with a 3-2 victory.