Tigers-Mets Preview

The Associated Press

A little more than one month after they both started the All-Star game, Max Scherzer and Matt Harvey will square off at Citi Field once again.

Scherzer will look to pick up his 19th victory on Saturday as the Detroit Tigers visit Harvey and the New York Mets.

"I figure this place will be hopping pretty good," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. "It should be fun."

It's the first time in history that two All-Star game starters have faced off in the same regular season.

"You can't beat that matchup," Detroit's Torii Hunter said. "If you blink you're going to miss something."

Scherzer (18-1, 2.82 ERA) will look to become the fastest in the major leagues to 19 victories since teammate Justin Verlander picked up his 19th on Aug. 22, 2011, en route to a 24-win season.

Scherzer has pushed his way toward the 20-victory mark with five wins and a 1.69 ERA over his six starts since pitching a scoreless first inning against the NL All-Stars. He has allowed two earned runs or fewer each time, giving up just 21 hits in 42 2-3 innings.

He gave up two runs in eight innings of a 6-3 victory over Kansas City on Sunday, pushing his streak without allowing a homer to 34 2-3 innings.

Scherzer has taken advantage of some weak opposition in the second half, making three of his last six starts against the White Sox. The right-hander's other three starts came against Philadelphia and Kansas City, among the major league's worst in runs scored, and Cleveland, which is 26th in runs this month.

Scherzer has twice as many victories as Harvey (9-4, 2.25) despite the 24-year-old's lower ERA. Scherzer has the most victories in a season with just one loss since Roger Clemens started 20-1 in 2001. Much like Clemens, who had the fourth-highest run support average in baseball that year, Scherzer has benefited from a league-best 7.47 mark.

"The win-loss record is a little fluky," Scherzer said. "Every time I go out, the guys are putting up runs for me and are playing great defense so I can't take credit for being 18-1."

Harvey has been nearly as good in his last five starts as his first 20, though his record certainly doesn't show it. The Mets (58-68) have lost four of his last five starts despite his 2.34 ERA and 30 strikeouts against three walks.

Harvey has gone 47 2-3 innings since last allowing a homer to San Francisco's Buster Posey on July 8.

Manager Terry Collins certainly wasn't bemoaning Harvey's latest start, when the right-hander allowed two fifth-inning runs and left after six Sunday in San Diego. He was in line for the victory before the Padres scored once apiece in the eighth and ninth to win 4-3.

"Matt pitched great," Collins said. "Cripes, they got a bloop single, an infield single and we're in trouble. He's done what he's done all year for us and that's pitch very well."

Harvey, who fanned three in two innings of the Midsummer Classic, is 1-0 with a 0.72 ERA in three interleague starts. AL batters are hitting just .107 off Harvey, fanning 28 times in 25 innings.

Those outings, however, came against the Twins, White Sox and Yankees, none of whom are in the top half of the majors in runs per game.

The Tigers (75-53) are a different story. Detroit pounded three home runs in Friday's 6-1 win, including a three-run shot from Miguel Cabrera that was his ninth in his last 17 games.

Austin Jackson has home runs in consecutive nights for Detroit and is 10 for his last 22.

Scherzer hasn't faced the Mets since 2009, when he was still with Arizona.

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