Max Scherzer’s three-game stretch best in a decade

Max Scherzer celebrates after recording a no-hitter against the Pirates.

Max Scherzer pulled off one of the most dominant three-game stretches in major league history by a starting pitcher.

There’s a reason why the Washington Nationals signed the free agent ace to a seven-year, $210 million contract before the 2015 season, he may be the best pitcher on the planet.

How does a pitcher follow up a one-hitter and no-hitter in consecutive starts? How about retiring the first 16 batters he faced in his third start?

For the third consecutive game, Scherzer took a no-hitter into the sixth inning, two of those perfect games.

Scherzer made a run at history Friday night against the Philadelphia Phillies.

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He attempted to become just the second pitcher in baseball history to throw two back-to-back no-hitters.

Johnny Vander Meer accomplished the feat on June 11 and 15 in 1938 for the Cincinnati Reds.

After falling short of equaling it, Scherzer remains in awe of Vander Meer’s accomplishment.

“It’s an unbelievable feat,” Scherzer said. “It seems so improbable he was able to do that.”.

While he couldn’t equal that, Scherzer’s three-game accomplishments merit their own look back:.

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— Overall pitching line: 26 innings, six hits, two earned runs, 33 strikeouts, one walk, one hit batter, 0.69 ERA.

— ERA: Drops from 2.13 to 1.79.

–Minimum faced: At one point, retired 70 of 73 batters faced.

— Rare hits: Allowed just six hits, fewest in a three-start stretch since Johan Santana also allowed six from July 6-17, 2004.

— Concise pitches: Of the 325 pitches thrown, 73% were strikes.

— Easy as 1-2-3: Of the 26 innings pitched, 20 were 1-2-3 innings.

A look back:.

June 14: Scherzer threw a one-hitter and struck out a franchise-record 16 batters. He lost his perfect-game bid when Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Carlos Gomez hit a broken-bat, bloop single in the seventh inning.

Pitching line: 9 IP, 0 ER, 1 hit, 1 BB, 16 K’s, 119 pitches.

What they said: “I wouldn’t imagine that that’s going to be the last opportunity that he’s going to have to do something special,” Nationals manager Matt Williams said.

June 20: Scherzer was one strike away from a perfect game when he hit Pittsburgh Pirates pinch hitter Jose Tabata in the ninth inning with two outs. He settled for his first career no-hitter.

Pitching line: 9 IP, 0 ER, 0 hits, 0 BB, 10 K’s, 106 pitches.

What they said: “He’s as good as advertised every time he goes out there,” Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper said. “He’s made for greatness.”.

June 26: Scherzer retired the first 16 batters he faced until Philadelphia Phillies infielder Freddy Galvis hit a double down the right field line with one out in the sixth inning.

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Pitching line: 8 IP, 2 ER, 5 hits, 0 BB, 7 K’s, 100 pitches.

What they said: “Every time he goes out there, it seems he’s going to be perfect,” Nationals outfielder Matt den Dekker said. “It’s fun to watch.”.

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