WASHINGTON -- Right-hander Max Scherzer was clearly the ace of the Nationals' pitching staff during the month of June.
After a slow start to begin June, Scherzer became virtually unhittable, finishing with a 3-2 record and a 2.33 ERA on the month, and it earned him the National League Pitcher of the Month Award. It marked the second straight month he won the award.
It would have been difficult to top his start in Milwaukee on June 14, when he one-hit the Brewers. But his next start on June 20 was even better. Scherzer threw the second no-hitter in Nationals history in a 6-0 win over the Pirates. He was an out away from a perfect game before he hit Pirates outfielder Jose Tabata with a pitch.
"It's just been awesome," Scherzer said recently. " ... Celebrating with your team after wins, that's the best. It's just fun to be a part of this team."
Six days after pitching a no-hitter against the Pirates, Scherzer retired the first 16 Phillies batters he faced. He had a chance to join Johnny Vander Meer as the only pitchers to throw consecutive no-hitters, but allowed a double to Freddy Galvis to end the no-hit bid.
"It's so hard. It takes luck. You have to be on point. You make mistakes, they have to mishit it," Scherzer said. "I made a few mistakes early. They hit some balls hard. Fortunately, they were right at people."
During his last three games in June, Scherzer went 16 straight innings without allowing a hit. He credits health and a solid relationship with catcher Wilson Ramos and backup Jose Lobaton behind the plate.
"They have done a phenomenal job as well. We have a plan, we go out there and execute it," Scherzer said. "When you get in sync with your catcher, they have a good feel for what you are doing. It's two minds against one, and that's a good thing."