The Max Scherzer mystery tour just won’t stop, as the Detroit Tigers enjoyed another great day from their undefeated starting pitcher, while Victor Martinez became the first player to hit a grand slam home run against the Boston Red Sox this season, en route to a 10-3 win.
While Martinez provided the fireworks for the start, hitting his sixth home run of the season in the first inning to give the Tigers four runs, becoming the first player to hit a four-run homer against the Red Sox this season, the work Scherzer did for the first 7 innings once again took most of the spotlight, improving to 11-0 through his first 15 starts.
But the Detroit batters were just as impressive, getting 15 hits on Allen Webster, Franklin Morales and Alex Wilson, as only Prince Fielder finished without a hit on the day, but did get a run to his name after walking once, with the Red Sox struggling to get by the Miguel Cabrera, Prince Fielder, Victor Martinez middle of the lineup.
The Red Sox were leading the Majors in plate appearances allowed with the bases loaded (82), without giving up the Grand Slam home run until Martinez finally got one by them. Webster gave up only one run afterwards, but did allow 8 hits in less than 5 innings, which made for a very disappointing start, falling to a 0-2 record.
The four runs given back in the first set the tone for the entire evening. I think he settled down after the first inning and pitched OK.
The rest of the story was Scherzer. He struck out six players, making it 15 straight starts with at least six strikeouts, putting him in very respectable company, next to Bob Gibson, Pedro Martinez and Randy Johnson as the only players to have that kind of streak since 1900, with Johnson leading the streak list with a 29-game-run back in 1999.
Scherzer is also the 5th starting pitcher in the last 40 years to start a season 11-0 or better through his first 15 starts, and the first to do it since Roger Clemens in 1997. Clemens had a 14-0 start in 1986, and a 11-0 start in 1997, winning the Cy Young award on both occasions. Ron Guidry in 1978 (13-0) and Andy Hawkins (1985) are also a part of this club.
I realize that it takes so many other teammates to put me in that position. This is a credit to the Detroit Tigers, for me being in this position. I know I’ve pitched well, and I know I’ve given my team a chance to win, but it doesn’t always go that way.
And Scherzer is correct about the support he’s been getting from his teammates. His ERA dropped to 3.05 after the game, but he’s also received 7.84 runs of support per nine innings, more than anyone else in major league baseball.
The Tigers have now won 2-of-3 in this four game series which concludes on Sunday, improving to 41-32 and opening a three game lead in the AL Central, while the Red Sox now have only 2 game in front of the Tampa Bay Rays and 2.5 ahead of the New York Yankees in the AL East.