LOS ANGELES – As the standing ovation for his 3,000th career strikeout grew louder, Max Schaezer stopped on the mound. He took off his hat, tossed the souvenir ball towards the dugout and immediately returned to work.
Mr. Efficiency, indeed.
There’s no time to waste time when it’s September, your new team is in the running for the playoffs, and the job is to finish.
Scherzer dismissed Eric Hosmer in the fifth inning to reach the milestone in the Los Angeles Dodgers’ 8-0 win over the San Diego Padres on Sunday.
“Everyone may have the ability to do this,” Scherzer said, “but few have the permanence to do so.”
On his way to becoming the 19th pitcher to join the 3,000-strikeout club, Scherzer came within five outs of the second perfect game in Dodgers history. He would have named himself after Sandy Koufax, who achieved the feat on September 9, 1965.
Scherzer equals Koufax in one respect. He played an impeccable innings in the second, bowling the team out on nine pitches. It was the third part of his career that Cofax and Chris Sell were added as sole pitchers.
“You want to go out and finish it,” he said. “He was very nice.”
At 37 years old, Scherzer still possesses the velocity, pitch mix and competitive fire that have propelled his major league career. He touched down in the mid-90s against the Padres, recording 97 and 98 mph in the fourth inning while throwing back-to-back fastballs to Trent Grisham.
“I don’t expect anything less from him,” said teammate Mookie Bates.
The defending World Series champion Dodgers were already full of talent when they picked up Scherzer along with their Washington teammate Tree Turner at the July trade deadline.
Led by 17-game winner Julio Ureas, 14-game winner Walker Buehler and most recently Scherzer, pitching has propelled the crime-hungry Dodgers for most of the season despite injuries caused by multiple bullpen games.
Clayton Kershaw, a three-time Cy Young Award winner like Shazer, returns to the rotation on Monday. He has been out for more than two months with a swelling of his left arm.
David Price, the 2012 AL Cy Young Award winner, is returning to the bullpen after being pressed into service as a starter during injuries, which included losing Dustin May for the season and Tony Gonsolin for several weeks.
Another major Dodgers acquisition didn’t work at all.
On July 3, the day before Kershaw was stepped down, Trevor Bauer was placed on paid administrative leave by Major League Baseball and the players’ union. A San Diego woman said the pitcher knocked her unconscious and repeatedly punched her during two sexual encounters earlier this year. Bauer’s representatives have said that what happened was consensual. MLB and Union last week extended his leave until the end of the World Series in November.
Shazer’s impressive performances in his first eight games with the Dodgers have helped him focus on the field.
He has hurled 29 2/3 innings without allowed earned runs and is 6–0 with a 0.88 ERA, the most for a pitcher in his first eight starts with a team since becoming an official in baseball in 1913. is less. Overall, Scherzer has won 10 in a row — not lost since May 30 at Milwaukee — and is 14-4 on the season. His 2.17 ERA leads the Chiefs and he has 218 strikeouts in 27 starts.
“I can’t imagine it will get better than this, especially where we are in the season,” manager Dave Roberts said.
While the Dodgers are 2 1/2 games behind NL West-leading San Francisco, there are 18 games left in their pursuit of a ninth straight division title.
Scherzer has avoided major injuries during his 14-year career, which has allowed him to pile on a great deal. He played six straight seasons of over 200 innings from 2013–18 with Detroit and Washington. He made at least 30 starts in 10 consecutive seasons that ended in 2018.
“I’m a big believer in best capacity availability,” Roberts said. “There are so many people who are talented who can’t stand the test of time. People can go out there and have some great seasons, but it’s hard to do that year after year when people are gunning for you. “
Scherzer credits pitching coach Mark Prior and catches Will Smith and Austin Barnes for his immediate success in Los Angeles.
“They understand how I like to sequence and throw different pitches with different meanings,” he said.
Scherzer won the World Series with the Nationals in 2019. He is an eight-time All-Star and is in contention with Ureas and Buehler to add a fourth Cy Young to his resume.
“Hopefully, I go out there and keep pitching,” he said, “and dreaming of more things to do.”
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