No one thought it would take Max Scherzer long to get back to form after suffering his first loss of the season to the Texas Rangers before the All-Star break.
He improved to 14-1 on the season, leading the Detroit Tigers to a 7-3 win over the Chicago White Sox. Scherzer turned in yet another masterful performance, holding the Tigers’ division foes to just four hits in eight innings pitched. He retired the first 12 batters he faced, stifling the Sox offense right from the get-go.
He gave up two solo home runs, which is a sign of his maturity. He knows he needs to attack the strike zone when no one is on base. Even lazy fly balls tend to leave the park at U.S. Cellular Field, and the two home runs are nothing to worry about.
He didn’t issue a walk, and even though he didn’t have his best slider working, he was able to pitch around the White Sox hitters all night and force them into a large amount of weak ground balls.
The game was much tighter until the ninth inning. The Tigers held a 4-2 lead going into the final frame and added some insurance runs off Ramon Troncoso. They did most of their damage off Chris Sale, which is a good sign after the team was beaten by him the last time the teams met in Detroit.
Victor Martinez continued his tear as well, going 4-for-5 in the game and driving in two clutch runs. He is batting .397 in July and is turning into a real menace like he was a few years ago.
It’s not like anyone was going to call Scherzer a fluke to begin with, but he is really starting to look like the real deal. He has gone at least six innings in his last 16 starts and has given up more than three runs on just three occasions over that span. The talk of him taking over the “ace” role is completely justified.
If the Tigers had to pick one pitcher to throw a do-or-die game right now, there is no doubt it would be Scherzer.