Today the Royals play their ninetieth game. Glenn Sparkman will be on the mound. The usual suspects will take the field. None of them make this game particularly interesting, though. Or at least, not directly.
The Nationals will be starting Max Scherzer against this lineup of a couple stars, a few AAAA players, and too many has-beens. This has got to be my best shot to see a perfect game or no-hitter live, thought not in-person, since I watched Bud Smith no-hit the Padres back in 2001. Many of you will remember Scherzer as being the former Mizzou star who was the ace on some stacked Tigers rotations back in the early 20-teens. But he’s somehow gotten even better since he signed with the Nationals.
At age 34 Scherzer is set to have the best season of his career. He’s got a 2.43 ERA and a 2.10 FIP that says he might somehow be even better than that sounds. He’s striking out a career high 12.5 batters per nine innings and walking a measly 1.62. He’s not giving up home runs, either. If the Nationals were a halfway decent team no one would be talking about anything but him. He’s pitched seven-plus innings and given up two or fewer runs in his last eight starts. If you’re willing to allow for six-plus inning starts he done the same thing in ten of his last eleven. He’s struck out 10+ in four straight, and five of his last six. His last two starts have seen nine base runners total across 16 innings while striking out 24 and walking none.
So, yeah, if you’re hoping for a Royals win then this isn’t a great game for you. But if you want to see a no-hitter or perfect game? The odds don’t get much better than this.