On a day that the Phoenix Suns once again broke the hearts of Arizona sports fans, a 23-year-old wunderkind from Missouri helped ease the pain by providing a glimpse into the already blindingly bright Diamondback future.
April 29, 2008: Max Scherzer set a Major League record in his debut, a 6-4 Arizona Diamondbacks loss to the Houston Astros. Scherzer became the first major league pitcher since 1956 to start his career in a relief role and retire his first 13 batters.
Scherzer was electric in 4.1 innings of relief work for woeful starter Edgar Gonzalez, touching 98 mph on the gun. He threw a total of 47 pitches, 35 for strikes, and struck out seven.
He struck out his first major league batter in only five pitches that registered at 93, 95, 96, 92, and 96 mph, respectively, on the radar.
The Mizzou graduate dominated the Houston Astros with full command and pinpoint accuracy. His sinking fastball destroyed hitters, and his knee-buckling change-up left them looking downright foolish, clocking in anywhere from 83 to 92 mph. He also displayed a filthy slider, showing a three pitch arsenal that should baffle NL West batters for years to come.
Scherzer mowed through Houston’s lineup with efficiency and panache, a lineup that includes such feared hitters as Carlos Lee, Lance Berkman, and Miguel Tejada.
The crazy-eyed phenom, fell one ‘K’ short of the Major League record for most strikeouts by a reliever in a Major League debut. He no doubt would’ve broken that record if Manager Bob Melvin had kept him in for the eighth inning.
Scherzer is just the latest addition to what is shaping to be the best and most entertaining young team in the Big Leagues, the 2008 Arizona Diamondbacks.
With one more 3.2-inning, six-run outing by Edgar Gonzalez, Mad Max could join Brandon Webb, Danny Haren, Micah Owings, and Randy Johnson in the Arizona rotation - what could easily be the best rotation in the Bigs.
After watching Steve Nash and the Suns fumble away yet another playoff series to the San Antonio Spurs, Max Scherzer provided all the therapy Phoenicians needed.
As the Suns set in the Arizona desert, a new star was born on the diamond and the pain of another season of disappointment was put to sleep by a 98 mph heater.