“It’s human nature to miss what’s under your nose… Till you remind a fool”
~Fresh Eyes, Andy Grammar
My apologies on the cheesy opening line but anytime you can incorporate an Andy Grammar lyric into a baseball article, you gotta go for it. Next week hopefully will be a Kanye reference (just kidding, but we do love free thought).
The truth is just as the lyric says, sometimes all of us take for granted something so close to us, something so great that we see so often. And that’s exactly where a lot of Nats fans might be right now with one, Maxwell M. Scherzer.
Every 5th day this guy gets on the bump is a sight to behold. The buzz in the stadium when Max is pitching is electric and the anticipation of seeing something special is palpable. And the numbers back it up.
In the month of April, Scherzer went a sterling 5-1 with a 1.62 ERA (7 ER/39.0 IP) and 57 strikeouts against just nine walks. Those numbers were good enough to earn him the National League Pitcher of the Month Award, announced last Wednesday.
Last month, Scherzer led the National League in strikeouts (57) and wins (5). He also ranked in the top five in the National League in strikeouts per 9.0 IP (2nd, 13.15), ERA (4th, 1.62), WHIP (4th, .082), opp. AVG (T4th, .165) and opp. OBP (5th, .227). He recorded four 10+ strikeout games, tied with Houston’s Gerrit Cole for the most in Major League Baseball during the first month.
In three starts from April 9 through April 20, Scherzer allowed just seven hits in 71 at-bats, yielding an opponent slash line of .099/.169/.183. He struck out 30 batters and issued just four walks during this stretch of games. On April 9 against Atlanta, he tossed his ninth career complete game (fifth career shutout) to end Washington’s five-game losing streak. On April 14, he struck out 11 batters in 7.0 innings of two-run ball as the Nationals topped the Colorado Rockies, snapping the club’s three-game losing streak.
With the Nats off to a somewhat rocky start, one shutters to think where this team would be without the consistent brilliance of Scherzer. But as we at DTC have been saying all season long, as long as Max is there every 5th day, this ball club will be in the hunt come October.
But speaking of October, I think I speak for all Nats fans when I say as great as Max has been, there is a still a long way to go to make up for that disastrous relief appearance against the Cubs in Game 5 of the NLDS last year. The thought of handing the best pitcher in the world a lead in a decisive game 5 at home in the top of the 5th and not winning that game still conjures up nightmares among those who were unlucky enough to witness it at the ballpark. But that was then, and this is now fresh season, fresh hopes, fresh dreams, fresh dominance, fresh eyes.
And speaking of all things fresh, Let’s go Caps! #ALLCAPS