Usually the MLB strikeout leader is a big-name, Cy Young-caliber pitcher.
In fact, every single MLB strikeout leader during the past 20 years fits that description:
Randy Johnson (nine times)
Johan Santana (two times)
Justin Verlander (two times)
Curt Schilling (two times)
You get the idea.
If the season ended today Max Scherzer would be joining that amazing company, as the Tigers right-hander has an MLB-leading 186 strikeouts to go along with a pedestrian 4.41 ERA. In terms of raw stuff Scherzer has always seemed like a potential ace, but he’s 27 years old with a 4.01 career ERA and would obviously stick out from the above list like a sore thumb.
Stephen Strasburg trails Scherzer for the MLB strikeout lead 186-to-183 and would certainly fit in better with that group, but the Nationals’ plan to limit his workload down the stretch will make it very tough for Strasburg to overtake Scherzer.
However, next up on this year’s leaderboard are R.A. Dickey (181), Justin Verlander (180), Felix Hernandez (179), and Clayton Kershaw (175). So if Scherzer is going to win the strikeout title and crash the big-name party he’s going to have to hold off a bunch of big names to do it.
The Yankees’ offense finally woke up, scoring eight runs in Game 3 of the ALCS on Monday night while the pitching kept the Astros’ offense at bay. That came after scoring a total of two runs against Astros pitching in the first two games. For a recap of the Yankees’ scoring in Game 3, click here.
CC Sabathia wasn’t dominant, but he executed pitches when he needed to most, preventing the Astros from capitalizing on their opportunities. Overall, he gave up three hits and four walks while striking out five on 99 pitches. He’s the first pitcher, age 37 or older, to throw six shutout innings in the postseason since Pedro Martinez for the Phillies against the Dodgers in Game 2 of the 2009 NLCS. Monday’s start also marked Sabathia’s first career scoreless outing in the postseason — it was his 22nd postseason appearance.
Astros starter Charlie Morton couldn’t escape the fourth inning, when he allowed a run and loaded the bases before departing. Will Harris allowed all three inherited runners to score on Aaron Judge‘s three-run home run to left field. Morton was ultimately charged with seven runs on six hits, two walks, and a hit batsman with three strikeouts in 3 2/3 innings.
The Yankees’ bullpen held the fort after the sixth. Adam Warren worked a scoreless seventh. Warren returned in the eighth and retired the side in order, despite yielding a pair of well-struck balls to deep center field.
In the ninth, Dellin Betances walked both hitters he faced to start the frame. Unsurprisingly, manager Joe Girardi had a short leash and brought in Tommy Kahnle. Kahnle gave up a single to Cameron Maybin then struck out George Springer, but walked Alex Bregman to force in a run. Kahnle got Jose Altuve to ground into a 4-3 double play to end the game in an 8-1 victory, giving the Yankees their first win of the series.
The ALCS continues on Tuesday at 5 PM ET. The Astros will start Lance McCullers and the Yankees will send Sonny Gray to the hill.