Only a select few major league pitchers surpass the 200-strikeout mark each season. Max Scherzer just got there on Aug. 9, with nearly two more months to add to that total.
Scherzer hit the magical 200-strikeout number tonight with a third-inning punch-out of Indians catcher Roberto Perez. It's the fifth straight season the Nationals right-hander has done it, a feat duplicated only by Felix Hernandez, Clayton Kershaw and Justin Verlander, among active pitchers.
This is Scherzer's 24th start of the season. If he stays on a normal pitching schedule, he will make 10 more starts, giving him an opportunity to break his career-best of 276 strikeouts (set last year).
The right-hander is one of only three Nationals pitchers to strike out at least 200 batters in a season since the club arrived in town in 2005. Along with Scherzer's club record last season, Stephen Strasburg struck out 242 batters in 2014 and Gio Gonzalez fanned 207 in 2012.
Scherzer has been dealing so far tonight against Cleveland. He has retired all 12 batters he's faced through the game's first four innings, striking out six Indians along the way and letting only one batter hit the ball out of the infield.
The Nationals haven't been able to offer up any run support yet, though, with Cleveland's Trevor Bauer dealing himself. The 25-year-old right-hander put three men on base in the first three innings, but escaped without anybody crossing the plate thanks in part to three strikeouts (all in the bottom of the second).
Update: Well, they've played six innings here, and the big story is that Scherzer has allowed only one man to reach base: Tyler Naquin, who drew a two-out walk in the top of the fifth. He has struck out eight, and has thrown 84 pitches, which is a tad high, but not insanely so.
Ben Revere also made another spectacular catch in center field, this time leaping at the fence in front of the Red Porch to rob Roberto Perez of extra bases. The problem: Bauer hasn't allowed a run himself through six innings. And so, this is a scoreless game as they head to the seventh, with Scherzer seeking history and the Nats seeking a run.
Update II: That ended quickly. And painfully for Scherzer and the Nats. Francisco Lindor broke up the no-hit bid with a one-out single up the middle in the seventh. Then, everything fell apart. Scherzer threw a pickoff attempt away, giving Lindor two free bases. Jose Ramirez then doubled off the wall in right-center, bringing in a run. Lonnie Chisenhall followed by blooping a single to left, bringing home another run.
Just like that, the Nats trail 2-0 at the seventh-inning stretch and have some work to do to rally.
Update III: They got one run back in the eighth, thanks to a fantastic at-bat from Jayson Werth, who battled Andrew Miller before lining a 2-2 pitch over the left field fence. So that made it 2-1 Cleveland, but that's where it stands heading to the ninth.
Update IV: That's your ballgame. Nats lose 3-1 after Sammy Solis gave up an insurance run in the top of the ninth. The lineup didn't have a rally in it, and so that group has now scored three total runs in its last three games.