Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Max Scherzer was in a groove Friday night against the Baltimore Orioles. The three runs he surrendered are a little misleading. Two of them came on a two-run home run in the bottom of the third inning, and another was added via a sacrifice fly. The Orioles had only three hits against Scherzer over his eight innings pitched.
Friday’s performance was the fifth time Scherzer has pitched eight innings in a game this season. He gives his bullpen a vital chance to rest when he is able to go deep into games. One of the biggest attributes of an ace is being able to take the mound and let your manager rest easy knowing it is unlikely he will have to worry about reaching for his bullpen early in a game.
Scherzer turned up the heat after the home run, retiring the next 16 batters he faced. He was touching 97 mph with his fastball and was looking downright dominant by the end of the game. His strike-to-ball ratio has been impressive all season long, and Friday was no different. He threw 119 pitches, 78 of which were strikes.
Scherzer came into the game with an 0.89 WHIP, which will not drop after Friday seeings as he only walked two batters while striking out 10. He came into the game 7-0 on the year, but was unable to get the win as the Orioles hit two home runs off Jose Valverde in the ninth inning to steal Scherzer’s thunder.
That doesn’t change the fact that he is bringing a level of consistency to the mound that is usually reserved for a team’s top starter.