I certainly don’t mean offensively, because that’s a terribly small sample size in interleague play, but Scherzer is the key to the Tigers’ success. I’ll tell you why. Well, scratch that, I won’t tell you now, but that line sounded snappy so we’ll stick with it… Moving on.
Number One- Streak continuer-thing-a-ma-jigger. The point here is that Scherzer is the bridge in the Tigers’ rotation. Yes, he has been a bit like Galloping Gertie at times, but when he’s on, he is really hard to beat. When the rotation turns over, Justin Verlander is going to give you either a chance to win, or a win period. After him you’ve got Doug Fister, who is really, (and I can’t stress this enough) really underrated. If Fister keeps pitching the way he has, then he too will likely give you a chance to win. After him in the rotation comes “Mad Max”. That was stupid…sorry. It was probably some corny title for some headline or another, but we’ll keep rolling with the punches.
Anyways, after Fister is Scherzer, who I’m guessing probably pitches better when the teams has the opportunity to win three in a row than when the team is on a losing streak. That being said, if Scherzer pitches well, that small instilment of confidence gets passed on to the next guy, another streaky potential gold mine, Rick Porcello. All of a sudden, Porcello and Scherzer are in a groove, everything starts to click, and the Tigers start to play like (cue Dennis Green) who we thought they were.
Number Two- Starting Pitching Depth. Yes I’m saying this: with Scherzer on his game, the Tigers have the nice problem of having young-gun Drew Smyly (who, by the way, has pitched pretty well this year), phenom in waiting Jacob Turner and fellow top prospect Casey Crosby battling for the last rotation spot. Now all of a sudden, the biggest question mark has turned into one of the bigger strengths. The team would have an air of being somewhat “injury resistant,” which God knows that they’ll need if the injuries continue.
Number Three- The Sheer-Domination-Factor. People have compared Scherzer to AJ Burnett. This comparison is mainly based on the fact that both are really good when on their game, and not so outstanding when they get into a funk. I think Scherzer is better than Burnett, and a lot of other pitchers league-wide when he’s on. Throw out Burnett for a minute. Seriously, when Scherzer is pitching the way he should, there is maybe only a handful of guys (Justin Verlander, Felix Hernandez, Clayton Kershaw and maybe a few others) that can match up to him.
Here’s another thing, if I asked you which starter in the league had the most starts with nine or more strikeouts in those starts, who would you reply with? Probably the three listed above, maybe Matt Cain, maybe R.A. Dickey, but the answer is Scherzer. That was probably obvious because this whole thing is about Scherzer, but still, pretty baffling. What’s more baffling is the fact that, as good as Dickey has been, which is really good, Scherzer has been a little more erratic. The point here is because of a bad start here or there, “Mad Max” (again, corny, I know. But did you really want to read “Scherzer” for the umpteenth time?) has thrown a little over twenty fewer innings than Dickey. What I want to drive home here (pun intended) is that Dickey has 103 strikeouts and Scherzer has 100. In twenty fewer innings pitched! I should also point out that Justin Verlander leads the AL in those all-important punch-outs with 106. That’s only six more than Scherzer in almost thirty more innings pitched.
Underlying-theme-spoiler-if-you-haven’t-figured-it-out, Max Scherzer can be one of the best pitchers in baseball, and can strike out a hell of a lot of people while doing it.