Nats GM: Scherzer should be obvious choice for third-straight Cy Young

Chris Lingebach
September 27, 2018 - 5:40 pm
Max_Scherzer_300th_strikeout

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

In the race for the National League Cy Young Award, Max Scherzer beats Jacob deGrom in "just about every category," Nationals GM Mike Rizzo says.

It's believed to be a two-horse race – between deGrom of the Mets and Scherzer of the Nats – for the NL Cy Young. Scherzer, a three-time winner of the award, is vying for his third consecutive Cy Young Award, while deGrom is trying for his first. Scherzer won his first Cy Young in the American League as a member of the 2013 Tigers and is coming off a pair of Cy Young awards with the Nationals, in 2016 and 2017.

Scherzer crossed another career milestone off the list on Tuesday, recording his 300th strikeout of the season against the Marlins, for the first 300-strikeout season of his career.

In Rizzo's weekly appearance with The Sports Junkies – sponsored by Burke & Herbert Bank – was asked for his opinion of the CY Young race.

"If you're asking me my opinion on the Cy Young, I think Max is going to win his third straight," Rizzo said. "He's earned it. He's deserved it. He leads the league in everything but ERA. He beats deGrom in just about every category except for ERA."

"ERA is an important statistic," he said, "but so are innings pitched, so are starts, so is batting average against, so is OPS against. There's a lot of things that come into play. I understand that the win has lost its luster in the Cy Young voting, but let's not condemn a guy for winning 18 games either. You know what I mean? Let's give him a little credit for winning some games.

"I think a win is an important stat for a pitcher. It's not the end all and be all, I understand that. It's more of a team stat. But you look at the run production that we've had for Max and there was a five-game stand there where we scored two or less runs in all five of his starts, and he got four losses in there."

Here's how deGrom and Scherzer's pitching lines for the season compare:

deGrom: 10-9, 1.70 ERA, 217 IP, 10 HR, 46 BB, 269 SO, .196 BAA

Scherzer: 18-7, 2.53 ERA, 220.2 IP, 23 HR, 51 BB, 300 SO, .188 BAA

At the time of Rizzo's appearance, deGrom had a record of 9-9. He added another win, to bring his record to 10-9, with a 3-0 victory over Atlanta Wednesday evening.

"To me, (Scherzer is) the best pitcher in the game," said Rizzo. "He's the guy that you want to face the least in the game, and if you're going strictly by statistics, he's number one in just about every category that you can name. And I guess the one sexy ERA stat is the one everyone's talking about, but, you know, nine more wins and two less losses – I get it, there's some team involved in that – at least let's not penalize the guy for winning 18 games. You don't have to celebrate it, but don't penalize him for it."

Jason Bishop remarked that Scherzer's NL-leading .188 batting average against is "just stupid."

"Yep," Rizzo replied. "Pretty good."

Asked if he were a betting man, which pitcher has his money, Rizzo replied, "I would vote for (Scherzer). I don't have a vote, but if I were a voting person, I would look at the stats. You could blank out the names. Look at the stats and say, 'Which column would you take?' And I would take the column with all the firsts in it and one third."

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