WASHINGTON — Max Scherzer didn’t have his best stuff in his final game of the 2016 regular season, but he still found a way to help his cause.
He threw 96 pitches over five innings, allowing a season-high nine hits and five earned runs, the most since June 24 vs. Milwaukee.
But he also managed to drive in four runs with two two-RBI hits, raising his season batting a respectable .186. This mark is down from an incredible .217 he hit last year with the Nats.
Lifted after the fifth inning, Scherzer’s final pitching line for the season is stellar:
- 2.96 ERA: up from last year’s 2.72 but still his third-lowest season ERA
- 34 GS: the maximum in the modern five-man rotation (on normal rest)
- 228.1 IP: only one-third of an inning less than last season
- 56 BB: among the best in baseball among qualifying starters
- 284 K: likely to be the best in baseball, fifth-straight season with 200-plus
- 0.97 WHIP: likely to be best in baseball, second-straight season below one
- .199 opponents’ average: likely to be the second-best in baseball, just behind Chicago’s Jake Arrieta
If the Nats can hold on to a lead they built in the bottom of the fifth inning, Scherzer will get a chance at his 20th win. He currently leads the NL with 19.
Unfortunately, Scherzer likely needed a better performance in order to bring home the hotly-contested 2016 NL Cy Young award. But Scherzer gave his team a chance to win, and was a force for the Nats, particularly in the second half of the season.
Assuming Scherzer regains his form on the mounds in the playoffs, Nats fans can enjoy the silver lining that Mad Max enters the postseason as one of the hottest hitting pitchers in the league.