The Detroit Tigers came into Saturday’s day-night doubleheader against the Chicago White Sox with a one-game lead over the Seattle Mariners for the second AL Wild Card spot while trailing the Kansas City Royals by a half game in the AL Central. With a chance to gain more ground, reigning AL Cy Young award winner Max Scherzer was given the ball in Game 1 against White Sox ace Chris Sale.
Scherzer entered play today with very impressive numbers against the White Sox, going a stellar 12-5 with a 2.35 ERA and an even 1.00 WHIP against the South Siders over the course of his career. He had been particularly impressive against the White Sox this season, going 4-0 with an 0.96 ERA and a 0.96 WHIP in four starts.
Mad Max was not quite as sharp today, however, going 6.2 innings, allowing nine hits, including two home runs, and five earned runs. He did, however, manage to rack up another 11 strikeouts. After today’s performance, he has 220 strikeouts on the season, putting him second in MLB behind only his new teammate David Price, who has racked up a combined 224 Ks with the Tigers and Tampa Bay Rays.
Even when Scherzer gets hit around a little bit as he did today, he still manages to get his strikeouts. His career high for strikeouts is 240, which he set during his Cy Young season last year. He is projected to get six more starts in the 2014 campaign, putting him in a good position to eclipse last year’s total and establish a new career-high.
With the loss today, Scherzer is now 15-5 on the season; however, he is still obviously having a stellar campaign, posting a 3.26 ERA and a 1.15 WHIP to go along with his eye-opening strikeout numbers. A free-agent-to-be, Scherzer has put together a fine sequel to his Cy Young campaign and should be in line to get a fine payday from someone this offseason.