Another Scherzer slugfest

Something is wrong with Max Scherzer. Tonight’s first inning was some kind of awful as Scherzer couldn’t locate his offspeed pitches and his fastball wasn’t so deceptive either. It’s one thing to have a rough go of it, but two of the last three starts saw the Tigers out of the game after the first inning.

Even when Scherzer could get ahead, he couldn’t finish off a hitter. He hung a 2 strike change-up to Marco Scutaro. He got to two strikes on Dustin Pedroia before Pedroia landed one in the bullpen. He went ahead of Kevin Youkilis 0-2 and 4 pitches later it was a walk.

I don’t know what is wrong with Scherzer, but something isn’t right. It wouldn’t surprise me to hear before his next start that he has been tipping pitches and they think they’ve got it figured out. Or that it was a simple mechanical fix. Or that Scherzer has a shoulder or elbow injury.

Scherzer isn’t getting hitters out with any sort of consistency, and this goes far beyond the fact he went from the NL to the AL. He has lost nearly 2mph off his fastball from last year, and his other pitches have seen similar drops. If it is measurement error, so be it. But if the result is due to injury and/or mechanics there is a larger problem. The Hardball Times examined the impact of velocity on runs allowed and did find a relationship, but even then it wouldn’t account for all of Scherzer’s struggles this year.

The Rest

  • The Tigers exercised patience and generated some baserunners by picking up six walks. Unfortunately Magglio Ordonez was the only Tigers hitter able to get hits (3 for 3 with a walk). The Tigers had a few chances to narrow the gap but couldn’t get the big hit.
  • Miguel Cabrera was completely stymied for the first time in awhile.
  • Brennan Boesch managed an RBI single on a breaking pitch low and away. It was a great pitch, and a better piece of hitting.
  • Brad Thomas had a very nice game, eating 3 innings. He threw 30 of his 43 pitches for strikes and fanned 3 and didn’t walk a hitter.
  • This didn’t impact the game at all, but in the first inning Austin Jackson led off with a walk. Granted, the Tigers were down 5 but Jackson is fast and Victor Martinez has thrown out 11% of runners this year. Yet Jackson stayed tethered to first base. I don’t understand this.