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How pitchers performed in their next start after striking out 20 hitters

Chicago Cubs rookie Kerry Wood delivers a pitch

Chicago Cubs rookie Kerry Wood delivers a pitch to a Houston Astros batter during the fifth inning Wednesday, May 6, 1998, in Chicago. Wood tied the major league record with 20 strikeouts in a nine-inning game, pitching a one-hitter to beat the Astros 2-0. Credit: AP

Last Wednesday, Max Scherzer became the fourth pitcher in Major League Baseball history to strike out 20 hitters in a nine-inning game.

The Washington Nationals righthander, who also has throw two no-hitters in his career, will face the Mets next week, most likely on Tuesday, May 17 (although the probable pitchers still are listed as TBA on

Here’s a look at how the previous pitchers performed in their next start after striking out 20 in a game.

1. Roger Clemens

May 4, 1986 vs. Athletics

After putting together the first 20-strikeout performance in a nine-inning game on April 29, 1986, Roger Clemens continued to mow down batters in his next start. He opened the game on May 4 by striking out the first two Athletics he faced and had at least one strikeout in seven of the eight innings he pitched. Clemens finished with 10 strikeouts and allowed one run on three hits and two walks in a 4-1 Red Sox win over the Oakland at Fenway Park.

2.Roger Clemens

Clemens’ second 20-strikeout performance on Sept. 18, 1996, was followed by a Sept. 23 trip to Yankee Stadium. The Rocket again started strong in his encore, striking out five batters in the first two innings. He finished with eight strikeouts, four walks and five hits allowed, but exited a tie game after seven innings. The Red Sox eventually picked up the win on a Mo Vaughn RBI single in the 11th inning.

3. Kerry Wood (May 6, 1998)

Kerry Wood burst on to the scene when he struck out 20 in a one-hit shutout against the Houston Astros on May 6, 1998. It was just his fifth major league start. Start No. 6 wasn’t quite as electric, but Wood still put on an impressive performance. The rookie punched out at least one batter in each inning he pitched, including a perfect fifth with strikeouts of Arizona’s 7-8-9 hitters on May 11. Wood didn’t run into much trouble until a solo home run in the seventh, but he struck out his final batter with two men on. Wood left Arizona with his fourth career win and 13 more strikeouts, allowing one run on five hits and a walk over seven innings.

4. Randy Johnson (May 8, 2001)

May 13, 2001 vs. Phillies:

Randy Johnson was pulled after nine innings of three-hit ball in his 20-strikeout performance for Arizona on May 8, 2001, with the game heading to extras tied at 1-1. The Big Unit went eight innings in his follow-up start on May 13 against the Philles, striking out 12 of the 32 batters he faced. While he had to work out of some trouble thanks to four walks and a hit batsman, Johnson limited the Phillies to just one run on four hits in eight innings of work.

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