Max Scherzer retired the first 22 batters he faced before allowing a base-runner Sunday against the Padres (Eric Hosmer’s eighth-inning double ruined the 37-year-old's bid for his third career no-hitter), lowering his season ERA to an MLB-best 2.17. Yet, like the perfectionist that he is, the Dodgers ace can only focus on what he hasn’t achieved, which is reaching base this year.
We chronicled Scherzer’s offensive woes earlier this month and, in two starts since, the three-time Cy Young winner has gone 0-for-5 at the dish with three strikeouts and a sacrifice bunt, extending his hitless streak to 60 plate appearances (66 if you include the postseason) dating back to 2019. Scherzer’s offensive disappearance is even more surprising when you consider he entered the year with a respectable—at least for a pitcher—.193 career average.
Scherzer, no matter how hard he tries, can’t seem to figure it out at the plate. So, naturally he had this reaction to teammate Clayton Kershaw singling in his first at-bat Monday night after a two-month stint on the injured list.
Seeing Scherzer’s frustration at Kershaw getting a hit before him is the right-hander at his most relatable. We’ve all been there, whether it’s watching your golf partner bomb one 300+ yards down the fairway (and straight as an arrow) or the crippling inferiority complex that comes from being shirtless in the presence of someone with a physique like Magic Mike. How do they make it look so easy?
Scherzer’s swing may be broken, but his arm sure isn’t, judging by the torrid stretch he’s been on since June 4th, submitting a 2.04 ERA without a loss in that span (16 starts). Scherzer and the Dodgers can clinch their ninth straight playoff appearance Tuesday night, needing a win over the Diamondbacks and losses by two of Cincinnati, San Diego and St. Louis to punch their postseason ticket.