Detroit Tigers pitcher Max Scherzer has reached the 200-strikeout plateau for a third consecutive season following Tuesday's nine-strikeout performance against the Tampa Bay Rays.
Despite striking out nine of the 29 batters he faced in Tuesday's game, Scherzer allowed four runs over seven innings and failed to factor into the decision. The Tigers ultimately won by a score of 8-6 in 11 innings, scoring three runs in the top of the 11th with just one hit, thanks to four walks and a wild pitch from Rays relievers Grant Balfour and Jeff Beliveau.
Per the Complete Baseball Encyclopedia (via GammonsDaily.com), Scherzer is just the fourth pitcher in franchise history to record 200 or more strikeouts in three or more consecutive seasons, joining Mickey Lolich (six, 1969-74), Justin Verlander (five, 2009-13) and Joe Coleman (three, 1971-73).
In light of his pending free agency, Scherzer may not get the chance to extend his streak of 200-strikeout seasons. However, he's already made a mark in the Tigers' single-season record books, as he's on track to have three of the top four K/9IP marks by a qualified starter in the team's history.
The right-hander posted a personal best and team-record 11.08 K/9 in 2012, and his 10.48 mark through 26 starts this season will be second-best in team history if it holds up. In between, Scherzer recorded a 10.08 K/9—ranking No. 4 on the list—during this Cy Young-winning 2013 campaign.
The 30-year-old righty is on pace for 270 strikeouts this year, which would smash his previous best of 240, set in 2013.
Heading into this year, the longest active streaks of 200-strikeout seasons belonged to Scherzer's teammate Justin Verlander (five), Los Angeles Dodgers lefty Clayton Kershaw (four) and Philadelphia Phillies southpaw Cliff Lee (three).
With Lee out for the season due to an arm injury and Verlander sitting at just 118 punchouts through 25 outings, Kershaw—who has 174 K's this year—figures to soon hold the longest active streak of 200-strikeout seasons.