Nationals starter Max Scherzer enters July coming off of the best month of his career. Even better than that — one of the best months of pitching of all time. Scherzer made six starts in June, winning all six with a 1.00 ERA and a 68/5 K/BB ratio in 45 innings of work. In each of those six starts, he lasted at least seven innings, yielded two or fewer runs on six or fewer hits and two or fewer walks while striking out at least nine batters. Scherzer won Player of the Week honors and he will certainly be named Pitcher of the Month as well.
As MLB.com’s Jamal Collier notes, Scherzer is one of four pitchers in the modern era to have a month with a 1.00 ERA or lower and at least 68 strikeouts in one month. The others are Pedro Martínez (0.86 ERA, 71 strikeouts in September/October 1999), Roger Clemens (0.90 ERA, 68 strikeouts in August 1998), and Randy Johnson (0.92 ERA, 68 strikeouts in June 1997).
By the way, Scherzer made three of his six starts this past month after breaking his nose during a bunting drill. He has helped will the Nationals back to respectability. On June 1, the Nationals were 25-33, sitting in fourth place in the NL East. On July 1, the Nationals are 42-41 and in third place. If the Braves hadn’t enjoyed a 20-8 month themselves, the Nats would be back to being considered serious contenders in the division.