Since beginning his Major League Baseball career in 2008, righthander Max Scherzer has pitched as a starter for several teams, most memorably with the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Washington Nationals clubs. But the ace found himself with a new team in July before the trade deadline, in a move by his team, the New York Mets, that sent him to the American League (AL)’s Texas Rangers.
That brings us to the present. A few days back, Scherzer and his new ballclub faced off against the hapless Los Angeles Angels (who sit at 60 – 62—seven games back from the AL West-leading Rangers). Our friends at Outkick reported that the Rangers were one out away from closing out the top of the first inning … when this happened:
Scherzer recorded a season-high 11 strikeouts and got his third win since being traded to the Rangers. The team continues to roll in the AL West and leads the Astros by 3.5 games.
But one of those strikeouts didn’t come without some Scherzer passion attached….
…[Scherzer] had a 1-2 count on the Angels’ Brandon Drury… when suddenly, Drury was given an automatic strike for not being set in the batter’s box in time according to MLB’s new rule changes this year.
Watch the pitcher’s reaction to the umpire’s call:
Max Scherzer struck out the side on a clock violation and was annoyed about it 😂 pic.twitter.com/bjtsmlUXRC
— Jomboy Media (@JomboyMedia) August 15, 2023
So, why was Scherzer angry about getting handed a strike-three count? Statisticians may have part of the answer; they shared that the strikeout adds a historic notch in Scherzer’s pitcher’s belt, writing in a tweet:
Max Scherzer tonight recorded his 6th career game with 10+ strikeouts and 1 or 0 hits allowed. That’s tied for the 4th-most by any pitcher since the mound was set at its current distance in 1893. Only Nolan Ryan (19), Randy Johnson (10), and Justin Verlander (8) have more.
Not bad company for any pitcher, and it’s no surprise that backing into an achievement like that would make anyone sore. But let’s back up and for the sake of argument, assume Scherzer was not aware that he broke the record. The emotion he showed here was a righteous one, the emotion we would hope one would express if he or she is told they achieved something with outside help—that is, artificially, instead of earning it by his or her own merit.
In other words, there’s a pride element involved. Now, am I suggesting that the MLB scrap the new pitch clock and the demerits it gives both offensive and defensive players? Not at all. Even though, it really is just a gimmick the owners and players union inserted during gameplay to speed up the game.
Scherzer puts in hours of training, studying opposing batters, nutrition, rigorous workouts, and more to maintain his reputation as a top pitcher. That’s what professionals do in any field. And we should encourage this reaction in others, whenever we can. Knowing you earned something through your own efforts is one of the sweetest things in life.