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June 2018
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Nationals’ Scherzer, Astros’ Verlander named MLB Pitchers of the Month for May

PRESS RELEASE WRITTEN BY MLB MEDIA RELATIONS; COURTESY MLBpressbox.com

 

Max Scherzer throwing to first base 2015 photo By Keith Allison on Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0, https commons.wikimedia.org

Justin Verlander (courtesy MLBpressbox.com)

For the second consecutive month, Washington Nationals ace Max Scherzer has been voted National League Pitcher of the Month for his efforts in May, and Houston Astros ace Justin Verlander has been voted American League Pitcher of the Month for May.

In recognition of their Pitcher of the Month Awards, Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander will each receive a specially designed trophy, suitably engraved, for their accomplishments.

Scherzer compiled a perfect 4-0 record with a 2.21 ERA and 63 strikeouts over six starts to earn his fifth career NL Pitcher of the Month Award. Max permitted 26 hits, four home runs and 10 free passes across 40.2 innings pitched. The 33-year-old paced all Major League hurlers in strikeouts, and among qualified NL starting pitchers, finished first in innings pitched and tied for second in wins. Scherzer is the first pitcher in the Majors to earn consecutive Pitcher of the Month honors to begin a season since Houston’s Dallas Keuchel accomplished the feat during his Cy Young Award-winning 2015 campaign.

On May 6th against the Philadelphia Phillies at Nationals Park, the three-time Cy Young Award-winner tallied a season-best 15 strikeouts across 6.1 innings of work. Scherzer, who notched at least 15 punchouts for the fifth time in his career, became the first pitcher in Major League history to log that many strikeouts, while recording 19 outs-or-less. In the final start of his award-winning month on May 30th against the Baltimore Orioles, Scherzer earned his ninth victory of the season after tossing 8.0 shutout innings with 12 strikeouts, and permitting just a walk and two hits. The University of Missouri product became the fourth pitcher in Nationals/Expos history to post such a stat line, and the first since he previously accomplished the feat in his historic 17-strikeout no-hitter on October 3, 2015 against the New York Mets. In addition, it was the 20th game in his career in which he tallied at least 10 strikeouts without giving up an earned run, tying him with Hall of Famer Sandy Koufax for eighth-most in Major League history. Over the course of his dominant month on the mound, the five-time All-Star logged at least 11 strikeouts in four-of-six outings, while not issuing more than three free passes in any outing.

Starting pitcher Sean Newcomb (5-0, 1.54 ERA, 35.0 IP, 30 SO) also posted a strong month of May for the Atlanta Braves. The 24-year-old began his month in historic fashion by not allowing more than two hits in each outing during a three-start stretch from May 2nd-13th. Since 1908, the 15th overall selection in the 2014 MLB Draft became the 10th starting pitcher to not allow more than two hits over at least 6.0 innings in three consecutive outings during the same season, and the first since Scherzer (June 21-July 2, 2017). Others receiving votes for NL Pitcher of the Month included 2015 NL Cy Young Award winner Jake Arrieta (2-1, 0.90 ERA, 30.0 IP, 20 SO) and All-Star Aaron Nola (4-1, 1.80 ERA, 40.0 IP, 46 SO) of the Philadelphia Phillies; All-Star Jacob deGrom (1-0, 0.69 ERA, 26.0 IP, 37 SO) of the Mets; Ross Stripling (3-0, 1.20 ERA, 30.0 IP, 41 SO) of the Los Angeles Dodgers; and the NL Reliever of the Month presented by The Hartford Brad Hand (11 SV, 0.61 ERA, 14.2 IP, 22 SO) of the San Diego Padres.

Across six starts for the Astros, Verlander registered a 3-2 record with 50 strikeouts and a 0.86 ERA to claim his sixth career AL Pitcher of the Month Award, last winning with the Detroit Tigers in July 2016. The right-handed pitcher limited opposing batters to just 22 hits, seven walks and one home run over 41.2 innings pitched. Justin paced all qualified Major League starters in ERA, and among AL hurlers, finished tied for second in innings pitched and strikeouts. This is Houston’s first Pitcher of the Month Award since Verlander’s rotation-mate Lance McCullers Jr. in May 2017.

In the first start of his dominant month on May 1st against the New York Yankees, Verlander tossed 8.0 shutout innings with 14 strikeouts, while permitting just three hits and not issuing a free pass. The six-time All-Star became just the third pitcher in Club history to log at least 8.0 shutout inning with 14 strikeouts and no walks allowed, joining Hall of Famer Randy Johnson (August 28, 1998) and Mike Scott (June 15, 1987). In addition, Verlander became the first pitcher in team history to post such a line with fewer than seven hits allowed. On May 16th against the Los Angeles Angels, the 2011 AL MVP and Cy Young Award-winner tossed his first complete-game shutout of the 2018 season with seven strikeouts and five hits allowed. With his ninth inning punchout against rookie sensation Shohei Ohtani, Verlander became the 33rd pitcher in Major League history to reach the 2,500-strikeout plateau. The second overall selection in the 2004 MLB Draft recorded his historic strikeout in his 395th career outing, becoming just the sixth pitcher in history to reach the milestone in fewer than 400 career games. The 2006 AL Rookie of the Year joined Hall of Famers Johnson (313), Nolan Ryan (338), Pedro Martínez (367) and Tom Seaver (381), as well as Roger Clemens (373).

Starting pitcher James Paxton (3-0, 1.67 ERA, 2 CG, 51 SO) of the Seattle Mariners also received strong consideration for monthly honors.

On May 8th against the Toronto Blue Jays at Rogers Centre, the hard-throwing left-hander tossed his first career no-hitter and the sixth in Club history. Paxton, a native of Ladner, Canada became the second Canadian-born pitcher in Major League history to record a no-hitter, and the first to do so on his native country’s soil. In his previous outing on May 2nd against the Oakland Athletics, the University of Kentucky product registered 16 strikeouts across 7.0 innings pitched. James became the first AL pitcher to record a 16-strikeout game and a no-hitter in the same season since Hall of Famer Nolan Ryan of the Texas Rangers accomplished the feat in the same contest on May 1, 1991 against Toronto. Others receiving votes for AL Pitcher of the Month included All-Star Corey Kluber (4-1, 1.83 ERA, 39.1 IP, 41 SO) of the Cleveland Indians; All-Star Luis Severino (4-0, 2.03 ERA, 1 CG SHO, 50 SO) of the New York Yankees; Daniel Mengden (4-1, 1.51 ERA, 1 CG SHO, 41.2 IP) of the Athletics; Paxton’s Seattle teammate Wade LeBlanc (1-0, 1.72 ERA, 31.1 IP, 23 SO); and Verlander’s All-Star teammate Gerrit Cole (3-0, 2.45 ERA, 1 CG SHO, 48 SO) of the Astros.

 

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