By Ashley Dunkak
DETROIT (CBS DETROIT) – Max Scherzer will not be winning this argument.
Game after game, Scherzer has made it a point to downplay his growing win streak. He reminds reporters each week that win-loss records for pitchers can be fluky, so he can only share credit for his 12-0 mark this season.
He often mentions the Detroit Tigers offense has picked him up various times when he otherwise might have recorded losses.
That is true. What is also true is that Scherzer is having a historic season, whether he wants to acknowledge it in the moment or not.
The Tigers have been around for 113 years, and Scherzer is the first Detroit pitcher ever to start a season 12-0. He is the first major league hurler to do so at all since Roger Clemens went 14-0 in 1986.
Scherzer has recorded quality starts – giving up three runs or fewer in six innings or more – in 12 of his 16 outings. He has lasted six innings or more in 14 of those 16 – including five eight-inning performances and six games in which he lasted seven innings. He has recorded five games so far with double-digit strikeouts.
With a deceptively high 3.10 ERA to go along with a 0.897 WHIP – the third-lowest in the major leagues – Scherzer is one of the game’s best pitchers this year.
He is right that the Tigers offense has picked him up at times. In Scherzer’s first start of the year, he allowed four earned runs in five innings but still got the win. On April 24, he gave up five earned runs in five innings and came away victorious. Is that fair? Not necessarily – that is why he says wins are fluky.
On the other hand, what Scherzer will not point the attention to are the games he pitched brilliantly but got no-decisions. Between his second and third starts of the year, Scherzer lasted 14 innings, gave up two earned runs and recorded 23 strikeouts – and did not record a win either time. Of course, that is not fair either.
That is why long win streaks for pitchers are so rare. That is what makes Scherzer’s – and the Tigers’ – run this season so remarkable.