There is always a lot of pressure on a hitter or pitcher to follow up a great season. When a pitcher has to follow up a Cy Young winning season, that task gets much harder.
Max Scherzer took the mound for the first time since winning the AL Cy Young award for the 2013 season, and had pitched two perfect innings against the winless New York Yankees — except he made one mistake. Unfortunately for him, that mistake was turned into a solo home run courtesy of one of the best power hitting catchers in the league in Brian McCann.
Other than that, Scherzer gave up no other hits, no walks, and even struck out two batters. Keep in mind, Scherzer gave up only one home run during all of last year’s Spring Training in a total of four starts. Furthermore, that one home run he surrendered last spring training was the only earned run he allowed all of preseason.
Not that Spring Training numbers should be taken so seriously, but they are a small indicator of what people can expect, and Scherzer allowing one earned run over 15.2 innings was a pretty good foreshadowing of the great 2013 season he was going to have. No one wants to make much of one start, especially a Spring Training start, but it is something to keep an eye on moving forward.
Scherzer was not the only Detroit Tigers pitcher who was susceptible to the long ball, as Jose Ortega, Luis Marte and Wilsen Palacios all gave up home runs to Yankee hitters to give New York the 7-4 victory, their first of Spring Training. Even though Scherzer only had one mistake, he has to now understand that as the reigning Cy Young winner, every start will be met with high expectations, and sometimes one mistake might be too many.