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.