Ok it's not K's but it feels the same to me.
Scherzer was fantastic last night. Yes the strike zone was a favorable as was the Tigers approach. But really that's like saying they left the door open a crack for a sniper shot. Max shot a nuke into the building. His control was spot on. He had the velocity. he had the movement. He was going to get a bunch of K's last night even given different circumstances. All the above did was help him get 20 instead of say 15 or 16.
So he's back right! Woo!
Starting pitchers are hard to evaluate. We only see them a little more than 30 times a year. If we take games as individual events, like we would a bad relief outing or a 5-5 2 HR game, then we are stuck waiting two weeks to get the 3-4 data points we'd like to say something as simple as "He's hot" or "He might need a day off". Opponents, feelings, location all matter immensely as well. One game they might be off for some reason against a good hitting team in a band box. Another game they might be on against punch and judies in a cavern. We have to take those data points and treat them the same because that's all we have. So evaluation becomes more of a rolling thing.
What does that all mean for Max? For the season you'd say that his starts were something like Good, Not Good, Good, Bad, Not Good, Great, Terrible, Fantastic. I guess the feeling we sit on today is "Rusty first month, but Max is probably back in form" and treat that last terrible start, against the best team in baseball, as a fluke. Then we wait for the next start. Another good or better start and the data starts telling you something with a lot more confidence. Something less and that confidence is gone. You may say "He just was historic!". That's true. That's why I'm not really asking for much here. Really I'm just waiting for him to have two good games in a row. Surely you can see that isn't setting too high a bar for "being back"
Honestly Max has made it to the point where the Nats are as a team, for me. We think they are really good. We keep waiting for them to prove it beyond a shadow of a doubt.
How was the rest of the team last night? They won! Now they have a day off!