Max Scherzer came up short in his first bid for a 14-0 start. He could have a better chance in his second one.
Scherzer (13-0, 3.06 ERA) is attempting to become the first pitcher since Roger Clemens in 1986 to open with 14 straight wins, and the first to take a 14-0 mark into the All-Star break. His six-start win streak ended Monday in Cleveland as he gave up two runs over seven innings in a 4-2, 10-inning victory.
The right-hander has been fortunate to own the majors’ best run support average at 7.57. He extended his streak of consecutive regular-season starts without a defeat to 19, and his run of 18 in a row such outings to begin a season matches the fourth-longest streak since 1916.
He’s 15-1 with a 2.99 ERA over his last 20 home starts, including two in last year’s postseason. Scherzer is also 4-0 with a 3.35 ERA in the regular season against the Rangers.
“For me, I know I have to bring my ‘A’ game against them,” Scherzer told the Tigers’ official website. “They’re talented from top to bottom. They do a really good job with speed and power - speed at the top of the lineup, power in the middle of the lineup.”
Scherzer went 0-1 with a 9.72 ERA in two 2011 ALCS starts against the Rangers (53-40), who feel he has improved since then.
“He’s got a tremendous slider and a turbo sinker,” Texas manager Ron Washington said. “He works fast and throws strikes.”
Washington will hand the ball to Derek Holland (7-4, 3.19).
The Rangers are 5-0 in Holland’s starts against the Tigers (51-41), including two in the 2011 ALCS. He has a 4.94 ERA in those games, however.
“I’ve got to match Scherzer pitch for pitch,” Holland said. “He’s 13-0 for a reason, so I have to do everything I can to match him.”
Holland improved to 4-0 with a 2.63 ERA in his last seven road starts by allowing five runs over 6 2-3 innings of an 8-5 win over Baltimore on Monday.
Miguel Cabrera five RBIs shy of 100, is hitting a major league-best .418 against left-handers. He’s 3 for 3 with two homers against Holland this year.
“The last time, he took care of me,” Holland said. “This time, I have to take care of him. But I can’t take for granted the rest of the lineup. They have some pretty good hitters.”
That includes Victor Martinez who extended his hitting streak to 14 games in Friday’s 7-2 victory in the opener of this three-game set. He is batting .446 with 10 runs during the streak.
“We need to get to the break, give everyone a break, and get it together,” Washington said.
Beltre’s 13-game hitting streak was snapped while Cruz had been 10 for 29 during a seven-game run.
The Tigers are 9-12 when opponents start left-handers.