Tigers-Indians Preview

The Associated Press

Max Scherzer doesn't seem too concerned that he hasn't looked completely sharp over his last three starts for the Detroit Tigers.

The right-hander looks to bounce back from his worst outing in more than two months Thursday night against the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field.

After yielding 10 runs in four innings of an 11-4 loss to Kansas City on June 17, Scherzer (15-5, 3.26 ERA) went 6-1 with a 1.78 ERA over a 10-start stretch. However, in three outings since that run of dominance, he's gone 1-1 with a 5.79 ERA.

He gave up six runs and nine hits but also struck out 11 without a walk in 6 2-3 innings of a 6-3 defeat against the Chicago White Sox on Saturday.

"The margin of error between success and failure, right now, is razor thin," Scherzer told MLB's official website. "You have to be really on top of your game to have success.

"Really, in my mind, I felt I had great stuff (Saturday). But it only takes a couple pitches to get beat."

Scherzer gave up seven runs and 12 hits in seven innings of an 11-10, 13-inning loss at Cleveland on May 21, but then yielded three runs and 12 hits while walking six in 11 2-3 innings to go 1-0 in his last two starts against the Indians (71-66).

Cleveland is batting .308 against Scherzer this season, and won 7-0 on Wednesday after being outscored 16-3 in losing the first two of this four-game set.

"Hopefully, we get some momentum from a game like this," said Indians catcher Yan Gomes, who is 10 for 25 in six contests since coming off the seven-day concussion list.

Infielder Jose Ramirez, who has never faced Scherzer, had three hits after going 0 for 8 with four strikeouts in the first two of the set. He's 10 for 25 with three RBIs in his last six at Progressive Field.

Teammate Michael Brantley is hitting .385 in six games for the Indians, who have won 14 of 21. Half of Brantley's 14 hits in 41 at-bats versus Scherzer have been doubles. He's 6 for 10 with three doubles against him this season.

Cleveland's Trevor Bauer (5-7, 3.99) has allowed eight hits and struck out 15 while walking eight over 11 2-3 scoreless innings to go 1-0 in his last two starts. He walked five and yielded four hits in 5 2-3 innings of a 3-2, 11-inning victory at Kansas City on Saturday.

Though the right-hander has a 4.42 ERA in three starts against the Tigers (76-63), he's 2-0 in those contests.

Miguel Cabrera, Ian Kinsler and Victor Martinez are a combined 9 for 26 versus Bauer.

After resting his sore ankle during Sunday's finale against the White Sox, Cabrera is 8 for 13 in the series. He's 12 for 22 in his last five games in Cleveland.

Catcher Alex Avila, who is 4 for 7 with a home run against Bauer, could return after sitting Wednesday to recover from being hit in the mask by a foul ball Tuesday.

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