Max Scherzer joins the 2,000 strikeout club

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Nationals starter Max Scherzer became the 80th pitcher in baseball history to accrue 2,000 career strikeouts, notching the milestone in the fourth inning of Sunday’s game against the Rangers. Scherzer struck out four through the first three innings, putting him at 1,999, then struck out Nomar Mazara to lead off the fourth.

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Scherzer is also one of 27 pitchers in baseball history to reach 2,000 strikeouts before his 33rd birthday, according to Baseball Reference. With 1,784 innings, he reached 2,000 strikeouts faster than every other pitcher except for Pedro Martinez (1,711) and Randy Johnson (1,733 1/3), MLB.com’s Jamal Collier notes. As far as games go, Scherzer was also third-fastest (287), tied with Nolan Ryan and behind Randy Johnson and Clayton Kershaw.

The defending NL Cy Young Award winner entered Sunday’s start with a 2.35 ERA and a 114/20 K/BB ratio over 84 1/3 innings. In the National League, only Clayton Kershaw had a better ERA, so Scherzer has a chance at winning back-to-back Cy Young Awards.