Even during his Cy Young-winning season last year, Max Scherzer never had a four-game run like the one he just completed.
Scherzer (4-1, 1.72 ERA) has allowed just three earned runs over his last four starts for the Tigers (20-11), a benchmark he never reached a year ago when he was named the American League's top pitcher.
The last time the right-hander enjoyed a run this good was in 2012 when he allowed just two earned runs in four outings between August 15 and September 1.
Since April 19, Scherzer has pitched 27 innings, struck out 35 and allowed only three runs. He hasn't surrendered a run since April 24.
"It felt like my normal mix (of pitches) to me," Scherzer said after working eight innings in Monday's 2-0 win over Houston. "Sometimes you have to mix in offspeed early in the count. When you're out there attacking the zone, that's when good things happen."
The Twins (16-18) took the opener 2-1 Friday night thanks to a two-run single by catcher Kurt Suzuki in the seventh. The win ended a three-game slide for Minnesota.
Scherzer has won five of his last six starts against the Twins, including all three against them last year.
First baseman Joe Mauer is one of the few hitters in Minnesota's lineup with any success versus Scherzer, hitting .308 against him in his career. However, Mauer has been out since Sunday because of back spasms and his status for Saturday's game is unknown.
Kyle Gibson will oppose Scherzer and try to build on a strong performance his last time on the hill. Gibson went seven innings in a 1-0 victory over Cleveland on Monday, allowing a career-low two hits. He failed to earn the victory, however, because the Twins didn't score until Eduardo Escobar hit a solo homer in the top of the 10th.
"(That was) probably the best I've felt all year," Gibson said. "I don't know I did too much different out there, just one of those nights they were hitting balls at guys and they were hitting fly balls. Thankfully the wind was blowing in, otherwise I'd have given up a couple doubles."
No Detroit hitter has ever faced the second-year right-hander.
The Tigers are looking to avoid their first three-game skid. In back-to-back defeats against Houston on Thursday and in the opener of this series, Detroit has scored just three runs after averaging 6.4 during an eight-game winning streak prior to the slump.
Detroit is hitting 1 for 12 with runners in scoring position in its last two games.
- Sports & Recreation
- Detroit Tigers
- Max Scherzer
- Minnesota Twins