After getting shelled in four consecutive starts and seeing his ERA balloon to 7.29, Max Scherzer was sent to triple-A Toledo after his May 14 start to work on his mechanics. He pitched two games for the MudHens and apparently learned a lot. He returned to the Tigers with a bang on May 30. In that game, he struckout a career high 14 batters in 5 2/3 scoreless innings.
In 17 starts since his recall – essentially half a season – the twenty-six-year-old right-hander has compiled a 2.20 ERA in 110 2/3 innings. As seen is Table 1, this ranks him fourth in the American League over that period.
Table 1 – AL ERA Leaders, May 30 – August 28
Max has been striking out batters at a rate of 9.4 per nine innings (K/9) since May 30, which ranks him fifth in the league (Table 2). This is nothing new for Scherzer, who had 9.5 k/9 in 226 1/3 innings prior to 2010. Teammate Justin Verlander is also among the leaders with 8.7 K/9 since May 30.
Table 2 – AL K/9 IP Leaders, May 30 – August 28
One area where Scherzer still struggles at times is control. He has walked 3.5 batters per nine innings since May 30 and also for the season. This has made it difficult for him to consistently pitch deep into games. He pitched six or more innings in just nine of his first 19 starts. In his last six starts, however, he has pitched 6+ innings each time and 7+ innings four times. He has walked just 12 batters in 41 1/3 innings during that span.
Beyond control, the one other thing Scherzer needs to prove is that he can pitch strong for 200 innings a season. He has pitched 152 2/3 innings this year and made it through 170 1/3 innings in 2009. He has certainly been dominant over the past 17 starts though and showing no signs of fatigue.
Statistics for this article were abstracted from BaseballMusings.com Day-by-Day Database