Max Scherzer has been nothing short of remarkable since joining the Dodgers at July’s trade deadline, compiling a masterful 1.29 ERA over six brilliant starts. Undefeated since June 4th, the veteran could be in line for his fourth Cy Young award, tying him with Greg Maddux and Steve Carlton for the third-most all-time.
But as breathtakingly dominant as Scherzer has been on the mound in 2021, it’s impossible to overstate how poorly he’s fared in the batter’s box, laboring through one of the worst offensive seasons in recent memory. Scherzer, a lifetime .173 hitter (78-for-452) whose lone home run came as a Washington National in 2017, has yet to record a hit this year, compiling a disastrous .000/.000/.000 slash line with 20 strikeouts in 50 plate appearances. Per Andrew Simon of MLB.com, Scherzer’s 50 trips to the plate this season are the most ever by a player without reaching base, eclipsing the previous mark held by Marlins pitcher Wei-Yin Chen in 2016.
Because the National League adopted a DH for last year’s COVID-impacted 2020 campaign, Scherzer has gone 54 plate appearances without reaching base, a drought that extends to 60 if you include the postseason. As Simon notes, Scherzer actually entered this year with the sixth-highest average (.193) among active pitchers. However, whether it’s been bad luck, Scherzer beginning to show his age, or some combination of the two, the 37-year-old hasn’t hit a lick this season.
What’s funny—well maybe not to Mets fans—is that Scherzer, for all his struggles offensively, is still swinging and missing less frequently than Javier Baez, whose 61.7-percent contact rate this season is worst among qualified big-leaguers.