Nationals ace Max Scherzer had another banner night on Friday, firing seven innings of two-run, 10-strikeout ball in a nailbiting 4-3 loss to the Padres. While he failed to boost his current 1-3 record, he accomplished something of far greater relevance to his career: his 2,500th strikeout.
The pivotal moment arrived in the top of the sixth, when Manuel Margot stepped to the plate and took three straight strikes from Scherzer, including a called strike three on a 85.9-m.p.h. slider. The right-hander proceeded to strike out the side, then returned in the seventh to induce a final swinging strikeout from Ian Kinsler — bringing his career total to an impressive 2,503.
Scherzer is still ranked 35th on the all-time career strikeouts list and third on the active leaderboard behind Justin Verlander (2,752) and CC Sabathia (2,997). It’ll take him considerable time to move up or down on the active list; though the Mariners’ Félix Hernández (2,488) is verging on the 2,500 mark as well, he’s already far behind Scherzer’s strikeout total this year and unlikely to catch up to the veteran righty anytime soon.
As MLB.com’s Sarah Langs pointed out on Friday night, Scherzer’s new strikeout total also granted him admission to another exclusive club. Per Elias Sports Bureau, he’s the third-fastest pitcher to get to 2,500 career strikeouts, accomplishing the feat in just 344 games over 12 major-league seasons. Only Hall of Fame hurlers Randy Johnson (2,500 strikeouts in 313 games) and Nolan Ryan (338 games) have done it faster.