With a win over the Mets on Saturday, Detroit Tigers right-hander Max Scherzer ran his regular-season record to 19-1, which would give him the highest single-season winning percentage (95%) in major league history.
Pirates reliever ElRoy Face holds the current record (94.7%) with an 18-1 record back in 1959. While Face pitched in a total of 57 games with a 2.70 ERA and 10 saves during his first of three consecutive All-Star seasons, he averaged less than two innings per outing. There is no comparison to the impact that Scherzer's having during a season in which he's on pace to pitch over 220 innings and strike out over 240 batters.
The 29-year-old Scherzer, who had a career 52-42 record coming into the season and has been very good since the Tigers acquired him prior to the 2010 season, appears to have jumped into the elite class of starting pitchers in 2013. While he leads the majors in run support (5.92), his offense hasn't had to bail him out of too many poor starts.
In the five games in which he's allowed more than three earned runs—he's allowed four earned runs three times and five earned runs twice—his record is 3-1. Seventeen times, his offense has only had to score three runs to win the game. It's hard to imagine Tigers hitters feeling much pressure when Scherzer is on the mound.
There's no question that Scherzer's season is shaping up to be one of the greatest in the history of the game. But how does it stack up among some of the greatest of all time? I won't attempt to go too far back because the game has changed in many ways, but here's a look at 10 contenders from the past 50 years.
Feel free to use the comments section to make an argument for someone I left out.