Beating the Toronto Blue Jays isn’t the most exciting piece of news these days, but when it comes with another fantastic performance on the mound for Max Scherzer, improving to 13-0 for the Detroit Tigers this season, there’s a little bit more to it.
The Tigers beat the Blue Jays 6-2, improving to 45-38 and having a 0.5 game lead over the Indians in the AL Central, but most of the attention went to Scerzer, completing 6.1 innings, allowing 2 runs, on his way to becoming the first starting pitcher to start the season with a 13-0 record (four more non-decisions) since Roger Clemens did in 1986.
There are only three players in the live ball era (since 1920) to have better starts to the season, with their undefeated streak stretching a little bit longer: Clemens in ’86, stopped at 14-0. Johnny Allen (1937) and Dave McNally (1969) ended their streak at 15-0. In about 10 days, we’ll know if Scherzer has himself a new record named after him.
It might not have been vintage Max but he was really good. We’re confident when he’s on the mound and we’re excited to see him get this 13th win.
Scherzer did allow 7 hits, but he also struck out 8 batters while allowing two runs, and he hasn’t allowed more than 3 runs in a game since May 15 in a 7-5 loss to the Astros. The Tigers have won on his last six starts, averaging 6.5 runs per game as run support, helping Scherzer overcome the rough patches when they do come.
He has now also pitched in to the sixth inning on 15 of his 17 starts, and leads the majors in strikeouts coming in the sixth inning or later. One of the specialties about the situation is him not using just one pitch to make it happen.
He recorded at least 1K with 4 different pitches for just the 3rd time this season, and is very tough to hit when he’s already allowed one player on base. He allowed just 3-for-13 and all 3 hits came in the 6th inning when he allowed both runs. His abuse of lefties continued, and he’s leading the Majors with 85 strikeouts against lefties.
But there was more to just Scherzer in the game, which got a little chippy quite early, as the frustrated Blue Jays didn’t find a way to pierce through the Tigers’ pitching and batting except with some dirty plays.
In the fourth inning, Colby Rasmus used a hard slide, with his spikes pointing upwards, to knock Omar Infante out of the game. Some thought this was actually as a response to getting hit by a pitch by Scherzer.
In the Sixth, Todd Redmond of the Blue Jays hit Torii Hunter with a pitch, something that caused the benches to clear, although no punches were thrown. Hunter was the one who responded heatedly to the incident, saying he had to vent out his anger at something.
There’s no doubt that Scherzer is getting a lot of help from his bats: The Tigers are in the top 4 when it comes to runs, batting average, OBP and slugging. His next start is set to be at the end of the four-game series with the Cleveland Indians. He has two wins in his two starts against the Indians this season, posting a 2.81 ERA and allowing only a .132 batting average.