Max Scherzer threw another 'immaculate inning,' a feat rarer than a perfect game

Mitchell Layton/Getty ImagesMax Scherzer pitched the second ‘immaculate inning’ of his career on Tuesday night against the Tampa Bay Rays, retiring the side with nine strikes and never allowing a ball in play.
  • Max Scherzer continued his incredible year on Tuesday night with a dominant performance against the Tampa Bay Rays.
  • In the sixth inning, Scherzer recorded an “immaculate inning,” a feat rarer than a perfect game, for the second time in his career.
  • With a 10-1 record, 1.95 ERA, and NL leading 133 strikeouts, there’s no question that Scherzer is well in contention for his third consecutive Cy Young award.

Max Scherzer continued to prove why he’s one of the most dominant pitchers in baseball on Tuesday night, striking out 13 batters and allowing just two runs against the Tampa Bay Rays to lead the surging Washington Nationals to yet another win.

While the start would have been noteworthy for his strike count alone – Scherzer threw an unbelievable 81 strikes on 99 pitches – his most impressive accomplishment of the night came in the sixth inning, when he threw the second “immaculate inning” his career.

An immaculate inning is when a pitcher strikes out all three batters with just nine pitches. Essentially the inning begins and ends with the pitcher and catcher playing a game of catch while hitters swing fruitlessly and fielders chew bubble gum.

On Tuesday night, Scherzer’s sixth inning was indeed one to behold.

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As the Nationals note in their tweet, pitching his second immaculate inning puts Scherzer in some extremely elite company – being on a list that includes Lefty, Koufax, Ryan, and Johnson is a pretty clear indication you’re doing something right.

And if you weren’t convinced of the rarity or skill it takes to pull off an immaculate inning, baseball statistician Ryan Spaeder crunched the numbers to show that the feat is actually rarer than the perfect game.

Scherzer’s game on Tuesday night was just the latest in what has so far been an incredible season. With a 10-1 record, 1.95 ERA, and NL leading 133 strikeouts, don’t be surprised if the 33-year-old pitcher takes his third consecutive Cy Young award.

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