Was Scherzer snubbed or is NL pitching class too deep?

Every National League All-Star team assembled since 2010 has included at least one member of the Nationals pitching staff. Every All-Star Game since 2013 has included a roster with Max Scherzer.

So imagine the surprise on South Capitol Street on Sunday when manager Davey Martinez walked into the clubhouse and informed everyone three of his players had been selected to this year’s Midsummer Classic: Trea Turner, Juan Soto and Kyle Schwarber.

Not Scherzer.

Some in the room didn’t believe it.

“I just thought they didn’t notify pitchers today or something,” Turner said later in a Zoom session with reporters alongside Soto and Schwarber. “Because that’s the only thing that makes sense to me, that they just didn’t tell pitchers today and were telling them tomorrow or something.”

No, the pitchers were named Sunday just like all the other reserves. And Scherzer didn’t make the cut, despite one of the best first halves of his career.

Thumbnail image for Scherzer-Fires-Blue-Ariz-Sidebar.jpgWith 16 starts under his belt, Scherzer is 7-4 with a 2.10 ERA (matching the best first-half mark of his career), 0.848 WHIP (third-best) and 12.1 strikeouts per nine innings (third-best). He heads into Thursday’s outing against the Padres having held opponents to two or fewer runs in each of his last 11 starts, the longest such streak of his Hall of Fame career.

“I think we really do have one more All-Star, if not another,” Martinez said Monday. “Max has had an incredible first half and I was really shocked he didn’t make it. But he’s done really well for us.”

The NL staff includes 12 pitchers, eight of them starters: the Mets’ Jacob deGrom, the Padres’ Yu Darvish, the Brewers’ Brandon Woodruff and Corbin Burnes, the Giants’ Kevin Gausman, the Phillies’ Zack Wheeler, the Rockies’ German Marquez and the Marlins’ Trevor Rogers. The first five were selected by fellow players, the last three were selected by Major League Baseball to ensure their teams were represented.

Entering play Monday, Scherzer ranked fifth in the league in ERA, fourth in WHIP and third in strikeout rate.

That would seem to make for an airtight case for an eighth consecutive All-Star selection, but somehow it feels like Scherzer isn’t drawing as much attention this season as he has in the past, despite the dominant numbers. Perhaps he’s a victim of the best pitching season across baseball since perhaps 1968.

“I don’t know,” Martinez said. “The selections were difficult, I know that. There’s a lot of pitchers out there that have done well so far. But you look at his numbers, he definitely should’ve been picked. I know he’s gone so many times now, but he’s one of those pitchers in this league that he brings it every year. He hasn’t changed, and he’s done it again this year.”

There’s still a not-insignificant chance Scherzer could find his way to Denver next week, if he’s selected as a replacement for another pitcher who either chooses not to participate or can’t because he starts this weekend.

“If he’s not an All-Star, there’s something wrong,” Turner said. “I mean, we pulled up the stats when we found out. I know there’s a lot of good players, I get it. But he’s top five in every category, not only just in the NL, but mostly in MLB as well.”

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