MLB

'Greatness' at work as Dodgers star Scherzer hits strikeout milestone, just misses perfect game

By Sports Desk September 12, 2021

Max Scherzer came close to throwing the 24th perfect game in MLB history on Sunday but had to settle for a milestone even more difficult to achieve. 

Los Angeles Dodgers star Scherzer became the 19th pitcher to reach 3,000 career strikeouts, hitting the magic number in the fifth inning of the World Series champions' 8-0 rout of the San Diego Padres. 

The man he struck out to reach that mark, Padres first baseman Eric Hosmer, was the only San Diego player to reach base. His one-out double to right field in the eighth ended Scherzer's bid to join the legendary Sandy Koufax as the only Dodgers to throw a perfect game. 

Scherzer was making just his eighth start for the storied franchise after arriving from the Washington Nationals in a trade at the end of July.

It is fair to say his new team is even more impressed than they were when they had to face him in previous years. 

"Obviously you see him from afar, dominating," Dodgers outfielder Mookie Betts told reporters. "You face him a couple of times, he goes seven, eight innings every single time. But just to be playing behind him is so much more fun. I mean it’s just kind of amazing to watch greatness."

Though Scherzer has now allowed just a lone unearned run over his last four starts, he has rarely been as dominant as he was against the Padres.

Knowing he needed six strikeouts to reach 3,000, the right-handed ace fanned two batters in the first before producing an "immaculate inning" in the second – striking out all three men he faced on the minimum nine pitches. 

That put him one away from the mark and he finally got it in the fifth when Hosmer swung through a 3-2 changeup. 

"It's hard to describe the emotions of it," Scherzer said. "It’s an awesome achievement, awesome milestone. Not that many people have reached this milestone. ...

"I love strikeouts and to me this is a testament to durability to me going out there every single time, making my 30-plus starts a year, year in, year out.

"Everybody can have the ability to do this. But few have the durability to do this."

And only one player has reached 3,000 in fewer innings than Scherzer's 2,516: Hall of Famer Randy Johnson, who did it in 2,470.2 innings. 

Scherzer started at least 30 games every year from 2009-2018 for the Nationals and Detroit Tigers, winning three Cy Young Awards in the process. 

His performance since moving to Los Angeles may well earn him a fourth this season, particularly if he keeps it up in the closing weeks as the Dodgers try to chase down the San Francisco Giants in the National League (NL) West. 

"I just can't imagine anyone being any better than this, especially with where we're at in the season," said Dodgers manager Dave Roberts.

Related items

  • MLB playoffs 2021: Cora insists Red Sox not suddenly a bad offensive team MLB playoffs 2021: Cora insists Red Sox not suddenly a bad offensive team

    Boston Red Sox manager Alex Cora says his side are not suddenly a bad offensive team and brushed off talk of a slump after going down 3-2 in the American League Championship Series (ALCS) to the Houston Astros.

    The Astros triumphed 9-1 on Wednesday to move within one game of the World Series, backing up from Tuesday's 9-2 win.

    The Red Sox only managed three hits for the game on Wednesday, with Astros pitcher Framber Valdez starring across eight innings.

    The defeats mean the Red Sox have allowed nine or more runs and been held to five or fewer hits in back-to-back games for the first time ever at Fenway Park.

    "I don’t see it as a slump, it's two games," Cora said during his post-game news conference.

    "We've been really good defensively the whole month. Tonight that kid [Valdez] was amazing. We'll keep working and talking. We'll be ready as a group."

    Game 6 will take place in Houston on Friday, offering the Red Sox a chance to recoup and reconsider their plans after the Astros flipped the ALCS.

    "We know we can hit," Cora added. "Two bad games doesn’t mean that all of a sudden we're not a good offensive team.

    "It's a matter of a re-group, make some adjustments and attack from the first pitch on.

    "We've got to win two games to go to the World Series, that's the bottom line."

    Cora insisted he would not make any personnel changes to his Red Sox line-up for Game 6, backing in Hunter Renfroe who has had a lean ALCS, with only one hit.

    Renfroe has not homered all postseason, after blasting 31 with 135 hits and 96 RBIs during the regular season, hitting at .259.

    "He's a guy throughout the season who has done an amazing job," Cora said. "He's played great defense for us and he's been good offensively. We'll keep rolling them out there."

    Cora was full of praise for Valdez, who had five strikeouts, describing his sinker as "unreal" and claiming he was the difference.

    "Their guy was amazing," he said. "He was throwing harder than usual, the ball was moving, we didn’t hit the ball hard at all.

    "Credit to him. His sinker was unreal tonight. You tip your hat to him and you move forward."

  • MLB playoffs 2021: Roberts confirms Turner postseason over in further Dodgers NLCS blow MLB playoffs 2021: Roberts confirms Turner postseason over in further Dodgers NLCS blow

    Los Angeles Dodgers manager Dave Roberts has revealed his misfiring offense has been dealt another blow in the National League Championship Series (NLCS) with Justin Turner ruled out for the postseason.

    The Dodgers were beaten 9-2 by the Atlanta Braves, who took a 3-1 lead in the NLCS, meaning the World Series champions will need to three elimination games to progress.

    LA only managed four hits for the game, with their only runs coming from A.J. Pollock's fifth inning two-run single. The Dodgers also only managed four hits in the 5-4 loss to the Braves in Game 2.

    Turner, who hit at .278 with 27 home runs, 87 RBIs and 148 hits across the regular season, also limped out of Game 4 with a hamstring injury when running to first base in the seventh inning in a further blow.

    "Early indications is it's a grade two [hamstring]. I think that'll be it for him," Roberts said during the post-game news conference. "Obviously he's very disappointed.

    "We're talking through [his replacement] right now. It'll be a position player but not sure who."

    Roberts had no answers when asked to explain his side's inconsistent offensive performance throughout the series, needing Cody Bellinger's miraculous eighth-inning three-run blast to rescue a 6-5 victory in Game 3.

    "That's a very fair question," Roberts said when asked about the inconsistency. "I know it's not from a lack of work or preparation, so the last part is execution.

    "I just don’t have an answer. Every time I write the lineup out, I feel very good, but it just hasn’t been as consistent as anyone expected… We've got to change that. I wish I had an answer."

    Thursday's Game 5 will represent the fourth game this postseason that the Dodgers have faced elimination.

    The Dodgers also trailed the Braves 3-1 in last year's NLCS, before storming back to win the next three games and the World Series, offering Roberts hope.

    "You never want to have your back against the wall, that's not how you draw it up," he said. "We have a very resilient team, a very tough team.

    "It's not going to get much tougher than facing Max Fried in an elimination game but we've done it before. We've got to win tomorrow and I believe we're equipped to win tomorrow's ball game."

  • MLB playoffs 2021: Rosario leads Braves to brink of World Series, Astros shut down Red Sox in ALCS MLB playoffs 2021: Rosario leads Braves to brink of World Series, Astros shut down Red Sox in ALCS

    Eddie Rosario starred as the Atlanta Braves moved within one win of the World Series thanks to a 9-2 victory over defending champions the Los Angeles Dodgers on Wednesday.

    Rosario delivered four hits, four RBIs and three runs in Game 4 of the National League Championship Series (NLCS), including a ninth-inning three-run homer to ice the victory, giving the Braves a commanding 3-1 series lead in the MLB playoffs.

    Atlanta raced to a 4-0 lead after three innings via solo home runs from Rosario, Adam Duvall and Freddie Freeman, before Joc Pederson drove in Rosario.

    A.J. Pollock hit a two-run single in the fifth inning to offer hope of another Dodgers fightback following Tuesday's 6-5 win, but the Braves pulled away again led by Rosario – who became the first-ever player with two four-hit NLCS games. The 30-year-old is hitting at .600 with nine-for-15 in the NLCS.

    Rosario needed a double from his ninth inning at-bat to complete a cycle and become the second player in MLB history to achieve the feat, but instead settled for a game-sealing three-run blast. 

    According to Stats Perform, Rosario is the first player in major league playoff history to have two four-hit games in a three-game span in a single postseason.

    Teams with a 3-1 lead in a best-of-seven series have won 75 of 89 times. To make matters worse for the Dodgers – who are on the brink of elimination and being dethroned, Justin Turner limped out of the game with an apparent hamstring injury.

    The Houston Astros shut down the Boston Red Sox behind Framber Valdez as they delivered a five-run sixth-inning rally to cruise to a 9-1 triumph and a 3-2 lead in the American League Championship Series (ALCS).

    Valdez pitched eight innings, allowing only three hits and one earned run with five strikeouts, with the Red Sox only managing three hits for the game at Fenway Park in Boston.

    Yordan Alvarez, who had a second-inning homer and finished with three hits, drove in two during the fifth inning, along with Jose Siri with a fly ball to open a 6-0 lead.

    The Astros had won 9-2 in Game 4, meaning the Red Sox have allowed nine or more runs and been held to five or fewer hits in back-to-back wins for the first time ever at Fenway Park.

    Houston, meanwhile, are the first team in MLB postseason history to be trailing in a series and then win back-to-back games on the road by seven-plus runs, according to Stats Perform.

     

    Braves at Dodgers

    The Braves can secure their first World Series appearance since 1999 when they face the Dodgers in Game 5 of the NLCS on Thursday.

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.