NEW YORK — Max Scherzer will receive plenty of well-earned praise for his second no-hitter of the season, a 17-strikeout performance against the New York Mets that fell a Yunel Escobar throwing error short of a perfect game. But look back at the three no-hitters in Washington Nationals history, including Jordan Zimmermann's on the final day of the 2014 regular season, and there is one common thread.
Over the past year, Ramos has been behind the plate for all 27 innings of those no-hitters, including Scherzer’s two this year. With Saturday’s game, Ramos moved into the history books. The record for no-hitters caught by a catcher is four, shared by Jason Varitek of the Boston Red Sox and Carlos Ruiz of the Philadelphia Phillies.
“I was really happy for the job [Scherzer] did today and the results we’ve gotten together,” Ramos said in a celebratory Citi Field visitor’s clubhouse.
Since Scherzer arrived in spring training, he and Ramos have found a way to get on the same page. Scherzer plans meticulously for starts and has complicated signs, but Ramos got a grasp of them quickly.
“I like for him to trust me,” Ramos said. “I don’t want to say he didn’t shake me off today. He did. But when he shook me off, we stayed on the same page. . . . As soon as he shook off fastball, I put down slider. And that’s the pitch he wanted. That’s communication between me and him. Before the game, we were talking about what we wanted to do, whatever it is, let’s go with that. And that’s what we like to do.”
Ramos credited Scherzer for being in full command of all his pitches. Scherzer said Ramos effectively called for cutters in to left-handers when needed; he never had to shake to that pitch. He said Ramos had a good feel for when to use change-ups and curveballs early in the count, too.
“I just trusted him in different situations,” Scherzer said. “Other times, I’m gonna shake him off, I’m gonna throw what I want to throw when I feel strong with a particular pitch. But there’s other times where you just find a way, you get caught in between pitches where you trust your catcher, and tonight was a scenario like that.”
As soon as Escobar caught final out of the game, a pop-up by Curtis Granderson, Scherzer met Ramos near the mound. “Let’s do our handshake,” Scherzer told his catcher, and with that they slapped hands and fist-bumped, then thrust both hands into the air in celebration. “We have our handshake before we do every game, do it after we get a complete game, do it with Willy.”