Detroit Tigers' Max Scherzer Has Solidified His Place Among Elite Pitchers

By Brad Faber
Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

On Wednesday night, the Detroit Tigers hosted the Chicago White Sox in Game 2 of a three-game set. Reigning Cy Young award winner Max Scherzer played the stopper, helping the Tigers snap a four-game losing skid by going seven strong and leading the team to a 7-2 victory.

Scherzer allowed just five hits, one earned run, one walk and recorded six strikeouts last night. He is now 13-3 on the season with a 3.27 ERA, a 1.17 WHIP and 167 strikeouts in 146 innings pitched. With August now knocking on the door, it appears safe to say that Scherzer has proved that his 2013 Cy Young campaign was not an aberration. Instead, it appears that he has simply come into his own in his late 20s and early 30s. It also appears that he has officially become the Tigers’ ace, ripping the title away from his teammate Justin Verlander.

When Scherzer turned down the Tigers’ six-year, $144 million contract offer in Spring Training, many Tigers fans were left scratching their heads — and rightly so. It appeared to be more than a fair deal for a pitcher who had a few very good years to his name but only one truly exceptional campaign.

Many wondered why he should get paid like Verlander when his track record as one of MLB‘s elite pitchers was much shorter than Verlander’s. Some also wondered what would happen if Scherzer regressed to being the pitcher he was in 2011, when he finished the season with an ERA approaching the 4.50 mark. It has become clear, however, that this is not 2011.

Scherzer and Verlander have almost completely traded places from where they were at just three short years ago. Scherzer won’t take home the Cy Young award and MVP award as Verlander did in 2011, but he is now counted among the game’s best while Verlander is a .500 pitcher with a 4.79 ERA this year.

Scherzer has now solidified his place among baseball’s elite pitchers, and come this offseason, he is going to get paid like one. Even though the contract the Tigers offered him in March would have placed him among the highest paid pitchers in the game, he will now most likely garner an even larger contract. The question, however, is who will give it to him. Scherzer’s destination should most certainly be a fun story for baseball fans to track this coming offseason.

Brad Faber is a Detroit Tigers writer for Follow him on Twitter @Brad_Faber, “Like” him on Facebook, or add him to your network on LinkedIn or Google

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