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.

5 thoughts on “Another Scherzer slugfest”

  1. Any Tiger with any speed whatever should be stealing Martinez blind. There is no excuse to stand at first base with him or Varitek behind the dish.

  2. I don’t think there could be a better graphic given the title of this post. Nice.

  3. It must be tough for the guys to go into work knowing that they will be down 5 runs before they get to hit.

    Thomas is proving very valuable as the go-to guy in hopeless situations (every 5th game) and other emergency type scenarios, tossing 40-50 pitches and moving the game along. It’s ugly work and underappreciated, usually coming in the service of a lost cause, but an asset nonetheless as it helps keep the rest of the pen fresh.

    Speaking of Ordonez’ three-hit night, is it just me, or has anybody else noticed that most of his hits lately have been singles to right field. Ring any bells? He only has two doubles, 0 homers over the last couple of weeks.

  4. For Scherzer, they should skip him once in the rotation to see if the extra rest will help. If it doesn’t, then move him to the pen or the minors until he’s fixed. I got no problem giving Galarraga and/or Bonine the rotation spots that they deserve.

  5. I agree with Mr. X. Scherzer needs to be set down for a start to get his head together and to allow another starter to get an opportunity to pitch some good baseball. We have multiple guys in the minors (Crosby, Turner, Oliver) among others that could come up and show DD what they’ve got. Also, I like your note about Bonine, that guy has done nothing but pitch good baseball this year As for the lineup, Guillen will be welcomed back with open arms. Hopefully they will find a place for him on the field and move one of our bottom four out of the lineup. The way things are going, I think deadline moves going after a 3rd baseman or catcher could be in line.

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