After flirting with perfection in his previous start, Washington Nationals ace Max Scherzer went one step further by throwing a no-hitter against the Pittsburgh Pirates on Saturday with 10 strikeouts and no walks.
ESPN Stats & Info provided details from Scherzer's gem:
Scherzer was just one strike away from a perfect game, but Pirates pinch hitter Jose Tabata was awarded first base after being hit by a pitch on his elbow. There was some controversy on the play, as it looked like Tabata leaned into the pitch.
"I don't blame him for doing it, I probably would have done the same thing," Scherzer said about Tabata being hit by the pitch, via SportsCenter.
The right-hander rebounded by getting Josh Harrison to fly out for the final out to complete his first career no-hitter. Here's how that final out looked, via MLB.com:
After completing his gem, Scherzer said he felt this was one of the best pitching performances he's ever had, per the Nationals' official Twitter account:
Scherzer was also quick to give credit to his teammates for some stellar defensive plays made during the game:
The ace also posted a photo of himself getting the Nationals' celebratory chocolate-sauce shower:
Tabata talked about the pitch after the game, according to Chase Hughes of CSN Washington:
This makes back-to-back shutouts from Scherzer, and Mark Hale of the New York Post questioned if this two-start run is better than Johnny Vander Meer's consecutive no-hitters in 1938:
Scherzer's stat line during this season and over the last two starts is impressive no matter how you slice it. In fact, per ESPN's Jayson Stark, the 2013 American League Cy Young winner is the second player since Vander Meer with a one-hitter and no-hitter in consecutive starts:
In 14 starts with the Nationals, Scherzer has looked capable of throwing a no-hitter almost every time out. He came into Saturday's start with a 1.93 ERA, 113 strikeouts, 0.879 WHIP and just 14 walks in 93.1 innings, per Baseball-Reference.
While there is still a long way to go in this baseball season, there's been no doubt who the best pitcher has been in 2015. Scherzer is putting up video game numbers, validating the $210 million investment Washington made in him this offseason.
Now, after a start in which he struck out 16 and another with a no-hitter, Scherzer has a lot of pressure on him to deliver in his next outing. Anything less than a perfect game will be a disappointment, right? With the way he's dealing, it's probably not a ridiculous question to ask.