Max Scherzer named NL Player of the Week

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by Amanda Comak

Following a week in which he carried a no-hitter into the eighth inning and then turned in perhaps the most dominant no-hit performance in Major League history as an encore, Nationals right-hander Max Scherzer was named the National League Player of the Week on Monday. Major League Baseball made the announcement on MLB Network.

In his final start of the 2015 season, Scherzer held the New York Mets hitless in a 2-0 victory on Saturday night, striking out 17 and allowing just one baserunner — on an error by third baseman Yunel Escobar. Scherzer, who also no-hit the Pittsburgh Pirates on June 20 at Nationals Park, became just the sixth pitcher in Major League history to throw two no-hitters in the same season, and just the fifth to throw two in the same regular season.

He is the first, however, to throw two no-hitters in the same season without walking a single batter in either contest. Hall-of-Famer Pud Galvin threw no-hitters in 1880 and 1884 in which he did not issue a single walk.

While Scherzer joined Johnny Vander Meer (1938), Allie Reynolds (1951), Virgil Trucks (1952) and Nolan Ryan (1973) as the only pitchers ever to throw two no-hitters in the same regular season (and including Roy Halladay (2010) if you add the postseason), he is the first to throw no-hitters against two postseason-bound teams in the same season.

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Scherzer’s 17 strikeouts (a career high, besting his 16-strikeout performance at Milwaukee on June 14) tied Nolan Ryan for the MLB record for strikeouts in a no-hitter – a record that had stood alone since Ryan struck out 17 Detroit Tigers on July 15, 1973. On Saturday night, Scherzer appeared to grow stronger as the finish line neared, striking out a franchise record (Nationals/Expos) nine consecutive batters from the sixth inning to the ninth inning.

And all of that came on the heels of 7.1 innings of no-hit ball in his penultimate start of the season, an eight-inning performance vs. the Cincinnati Reds on Sept. 28. All told, the final week of Scherzer’s 2015 season featured a 2-0 record and a 0.53 ERA (1 ER/17.0 IP), two hits, three walks and 27 strikeouts.

After Scherzer’s tremendous performances, the Nationals are the first team since the 1960-1961 Milwaukee Braves to throw three no-hitters in a 162-game span (Jordan Zimmermann, Game No. 162, 2014; Scherzer Games No. 69 & 161, 2015).

This is the third Player of the Week award of Scherzer’s career after he earned the honor earlier this season (June 15-21, 2015), when he threw his first no-hitter. He had previously taken home the award on June 24, 2013 as a member of the Detroit Tigers.

As an organization, Scherzer is the Nationals’ 18th weekly honoree. He adds to the haul from Bryce Harper (May 4-10, May 11-17, & Sept. 14-20, 2015), Stephen Strasburg (Sept. 14-20, 2015 & June 7-13, 2010), Zimmermann (Sept. 22-28, 2014; June 2-8, 2014), Adam LaRoche (Sept. 1-7, 2014), Jayson Werth (June 30-July 6, 2014), Ryan Zimmerman (July 16-22, 2012; Aug. 15-21, 2011; July 30-Aug. 5, 2007), Josh Willingham (July 27-Aug. 2, 2009), Cristian Guzman (Aug. 25-31, 2008), and Nick Johnson (May 31-June 6, 2005) as honorees.

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