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Max Scherzer takes over major league lead in strikeouts

Aug 15, 2012, 5:00 PM EDT

Max Scherzer AP

It’ll be a short-lived lead, but Max Scherzer fanned 10 Twins over seven shutout innings Wednesday to move past teammate Justin Verlander for the major league lead with 178 strikeouts. He’s gotten there in just 140 2/3 innings, while Verlander has racked up his 174 strikeouts in 175 2/3 innings.

If Scherzer maintains his current pace, he’d finish with the season with the highest strikeout rate for a starting pitcher since Randy Johnson in 2002.

Here’s the top 10 in strikeouts per nine innings since 2000. I’m using a minimum of 162 innings:

13.41 – Randy Johnson (2001 Diamondbacks)
12.56 – Randy Johnson (2000 Diamondbacks)
11.78 – Pedro Martinez (2000 Red Sox)
11.56 – Randy Johnson (2002 Diamondbacks)
11.35 – Kerry Wood (2003 Cubs)
11.20 – Kerry Wood (2001 Cubs)
10.97 – Oliver Perez (2004 Pirates)
10.97 – Curt Schilling (2002 Diamondbacks)
10.93 – Erik Bedard (2007 Orioles)
10.79 – Pedro Martinez (2002 Red S0x)

Scherzer is currently at 11.39 K/9 IP with 22 more innings needed to qualify for the list. Of course, I should also note that the mark is barely the best in the majors this year: Stephen Strasburg entered his start Wednesday with 166 strikeouts in 133 1/3 innings, good for 11.21 K/9 IP. Yu Darvish is also at 10.36 this year, with 162 strikeouts in 140 2/3 innings.

  1. El Bravo - Aug 15, 2012 at 5:24 PM

    Just want to point out my fantasy squad consists of Verly, Scherzy and Dickey. I got Ks for days.

  2. proudlycanadian - Aug 15, 2012 at 5:58 PM

    Scherzer has had the same number of starts as Verlander. He does not go as deep into games as Verlander and he has a significantly higher ERA. He needs a lot more help from his bull pen than Verlander. He is having a decent year at 12 & 6 with a 4.41 ERA., but compared to Verlander, is a supplementary piece of the rotation.

  3. thom4msu - Aug 15, 2012 at 6:16 PM

    To proudlycanadien- you can take Verlanders balls out of your mouth now.

    • proudlycanadian - Aug 15, 2012 at 7:10 PM

      How juvenile! I have said it before and I will repeat it again. Strikeouts are over rated. An out is an out. So far this season, Verlander is the third best pitcher in the AL. Scherzer is not a top of the rotation pitcher.

      • Reflex - Aug 16, 2012 at 2:14 AM

        While it is true that an out is an out, a strikeout has far more value than a ground or fly out since a strikeout can never become a hit or even an error. I agree that strikeouts can be overrated, but a guy who never has to take a chance on his defense is a guy who is more valuable than a contact pitcher to the team as a whole.

    • philliesblow - Aug 15, 2012 at 7:31 PM


      1) proudlycanadian is right in his comparison of Scherzer & JV

      2) Please drop the MSU from your name. You’re embarrassing other Spartans.

      • El Bravo - Aug 15, 2012 at 9:20 PM

        3) Phillies do indeed blow.

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