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.
Last night it was reported that the Players Union had made an offer to Major League Baseball and the owners regarding plans for a 2020 season. The offer, which was in part counteroffer to the owners’ previous offer, part new proposals of its own, involved a 114-game season with an end date on October 31, a playoff expansion for two years, the right for players to opt out of the season over health concerns, and a potential deferral of 2020 salaries if the postseason were to be canceled.
How’s that sitting with the owners? Not great, folks.
Evan Drellich of The Athletic reported this morning that the owners want a shorter schedule than the 114 games the players proposed, likely because they want to increase the odds that they can get to a postseason before a potential second wave COVID-19 outbreak occurs, as many experts expect it will. The owners also, not surprisingly, still want salary reductions, which the players have not addressed due to their contention that the matter was settled. Drellich says that the players’ offer “hasn’t been rejected yet but that’s inevitable.”
Bob Klapisch of the Newark Star-Ledger is more blunt:
The sides are, as Drellich notes, still talking. It would appear, however, that the owners tack of negotiating through the media is continuing on as well.