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Max Scherzer’s June was historically great

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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.

Video: Ronald Acuña Jr. second-youngest to join 30-30 club

Ronald Acuna Jr.
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Braves 21-year-old outfielder Ronald Acuña Jr. nabbed his 30th stolen base of the season on Friday, becoming the second-youngest player in Major League history to produce at least 30 home runs and 30 stolen bases in a single season. Per MLB Stats, the only other player under 22 years old to pull off the feat is Mike Trout, who did so with 30 home runs and 49 stolen bases during his age-20 season in 2012.

Acuña’s triumphant moment came in the eighth inning of Friday’s game against the Mets. He drew a six-pitch walk against righty reliever Seth Lugo, then waited for an opportune moment as Ozzie Albies stepped to the plate. Lugo fired a 93-m.p.h. fastball to Albies for ball no. 2, which was promptly returned to second base by catcher Wilson Ramos. The throw came in high, however; Amed Rosario had to jump to make the catch, allowing Acuña to slide safely into the bag and hit his career mark.

It’s been an eventful season for the All-Star outfielder, whose 36 home runs and 30 stolen bases helps pad a .294/.377/.536 batting line and 5.1 fWAR over 597 plate appearances. Through the first 11 innings of Friday’s contest, he went 0-for-3 with a pair of walks and a stolen base.