The Detroit Tigers gained some momentum last night in their series against the San Diego Padres as Justin Verlander pitched a gem and even helped on the offensive end, leading the Tigers to victory and giving them the chance to win the series today. With reigning AL Cy Young award winner Max Scherzer on the mound, Detroit’s chances of taking the series were all but guaranteed. Scherzer struggled early, though, and the Tigers failed to recover as the Padres won the game 5-1.
Scherzer came into the game not having won in either of his starts this year, but neither of those games were his fault. The bullpen cost him a win in both of his previous starts against the Kansas City Royals and the Los Angeles Dodgers. Today against the Padres, however, Scherzer’s early struggles cost the Tigers the game.
Throughout the game, Scherzer failed to capitalize when he was ahead of the count, and that reflected on his pitch count. He had to leave the game after five innings because he was already at 104 pitches. He did not have command of his fastball against a poor Padres lineup that capitalized on his mistakes.
Another shocking statistic from the game were the amount of walks that Scherzer allowed. Coming into the game, Scherzer had two walks in his previous two starts. He had three today against the Padres.
Scherzer’s command today was not like anything fans are used to seeing from him. Typically he can pick and choose where to place his pitches, but he did not have that today. While it is not expected for him to be perfect, he is normally much better than he was today.
A pitcher of Scherzer’s caliber needs to always be on his game. When he’s not, any team can be successful, even a poor hitting team like the Padres. While the Tigers’ bats were not in full force today, Scherzer’s early struggles doomed the team from the start.