Max Scherzer of the Detroit Tigers has been one of, if not the most dominating pitcher in the MLB this season. A 19-1 record at this stage of the season is almost unheard of. He was facing the Boston Red Sox on Tuesday night. One of the players not in the lineup because of a thumb injury was Jacoby Ellsbury who in a very small sample size, has owned Scherzer. Not all that promising for Boston.
It was even less promising when Scherzer started facing Boston’s lineup. He was dealing and I mean, dealing. It looked like at the beginning of the game that he had such dominating stuff that he might throw a no-hitter. Scherzer only needed 13 pitches to strike out the side in the first inning and retired six out of the first seven batters that he faced. Even though the no-hitter went away quickly, certainly a shutout seemed like a very real possibility, he was that completely dominating. More than a few Boston fans were a little nervous to see Will Middlebrooks step up to the plate in the fifth inning. There seemed to be reason to think that this wouldn’t end well for Boston and that Middlebrooks would be overmatched, which has happened a lot this season.
Only he wasn’t. He hit a solid two-run, two-out single that gave Boston all the offense it needed. Middlebrooks was supposed to be right-handed power and help protect David Ortiz. That didn’t happen for a good part of the season. He was struggling so badly, he was sent down to Pawtucket. For a while, it looked like he might be down there for quite some time. However, he straightened out a lot of his mechanics, shortened his swing and right when Jose Igleasis was traded, Middlebrooks returned and has hit a lot better. Even though he was in the system, it almost felt like acquiring a new player or at least the player who hit 15 home runs and 54 RBI’s in 75 games last year. In his short career, last night’s single may be the biggest and most clutch hit he has had so far in his career. Boston needed those runs in the worst possible way.
Thanks to Middlebrooks, no 20 wins for you Mr. Scherzer. Not tonight.