A mere five days after the nostalgia bug had all of us giddily recalling Kerry Wood’s electric, 20-strikeout performance 18 years ago, Max Scherzer of the Washington Nationals delivered a pitching clinic with a 20-K game of his very own last night. Scherzer joins one of Major League Baseball’s most elite clubs with the performance. Roger Clemens, Kerry Wood and now Max Scherzer are the only MLB pitchers to throw 20 strikeouts in a nine-inning game. Randy Johnson, destroyer of birds, of course, tossed 20 of his own back in 2001 in a nine-inning start of an extra-innings game.

But let’s bask in the wonder of Scherzer’s gem from yesterday and hear from the man himself on his performance, the historical context of being in that prestigious company and what it meant to have this game against his old teammates from Detroit:

20 strikeouts, 6 hits, 0 walks. 119 pitches –96 of those for strikes– and two earned runs. Scherzer’s dominant turn comes as no surprise, he’s arguably one of the top-five pitchers in baseball along with names like Kershaw, Syndergaard, Arrieta, but that dominance on display against the bats of Detroit was probably a little surprising even to the man himself. As for the Nationals? They’re still right there in the NL East, a mere half game back of the Mets, and with Bryce Harper rounding into the most-feared batter since Barry Bonds, it’s clear that Dusty Baker’s crew is here to stay.

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