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Mad Max skunks old teammates with 20 strikeout night

Posted by Betonline team on 5/14/2016 2:44:27 AM
Mad Max skunks old teammates with 20 strikeout night

Washington Nationals pitcher Max Scherzer did it to his old team in a way we’ve seen plenty of times before.

He mixed in a variety of changeups, sliders and dialed up 98 mile per hour fast balls to fan 20 batters while making the Detroit Tigers look foolish. When he got James McCann to ground out to end the game Scherzer found himself in rare company.

This is an accomplishment Roger Clemens did twice. Kerry Wood and Randy Johnson are the only other players to fan 20 batters. Mad Max was both dominating and playful as he mowed down Detroit in a 3-2 victory.

“At the end of the night, was a special night,” Scherzer said. “Because I mean the strikeouts are sexy. And to be able to punch out 20, it’s sexy.”

This looked personal for Scherzer. Tigers owner Mike Ilitch offered Max a $144 million deal. At the end both men were insulted. Ilitch was insulted for Scherzer leaving it on the table and Scherzer was insulted because the Nationals offered him more than $200 million.

Ilitch took his offer off the table and Max bolted Detroit for the nation’s capital.

But this night was simply about K’s and there were plenty of them. He struck out five of the first six Tigers and teammate Bryce Harper was already shaking his head saying: “That’s Max.”

“It’s like a horror film,” Tigers outfielder J.D. Martinez told The Detroit News. “He’s got stuff. He’s got pitches that will put you away. He’s got three pitches that can put you away, that fastball, the slider, and the changeup. I think he put me away with every one of them.”

There are nights this man is unstoppable. In less than two seasons with the Nationals, he has already tossed two no-hitters and now this gem.

“Twenty is just an unbelievable number,” Scherzer said. “There’s something about 20 in the game. Twenty strikeouts, 20 wins. Those are huge numbers. To be able to go out there and be able to accomplish one of those, that’s a huge feat.”

Max needed this night and he needed this moment. Although he paved his record to 4-2 he has not been pleased with the way he pitched. Perhaps he needed the motivation of competing against his former team to bring out his best.

The Tigers saw dominating performances like this at Comerica Park but did not really compete in trying to keep him. He spent five seasons in Detroit and was 21-3 with a 2.90 earn run average, winning a Cy Young Award in 2013. He followed that up with an 18-5 mark and a 3.15 ERA his final season before signing a seven year, $210 million deal with Washington.

“I really don’t feel like I’ve been pitching that well,” Scherzer said. “I almost needed the Tigers to come and almost get me amped up to get going. To be going on full cylinders and put something extra on the line.”

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