Max Scherzer is the reigning AL Cy Young Award winner, and he’s looking for another performance that resembles that lofty status.
Scherzer attempts to find some consistency and build on another strong road performance Saturday as the Detroit Tigers try to rebound from a rare loss to the Houston Astros.
Although Scherzer (9-3, 3.71 ERA) ranks among the major league leaders in wins, he has a 6.15 ERA over his last seven starts. However, he’s allowed one run or none while winning two of his last three – both on the road.
He limited Cleveland to one run with eight strikeouts over six innings in a 10-4 win Sunday.
That was a tremendous improvement after he was tagged for a career high-tying 10 runs and 10 hits over four-plus innings of an 11-4 home defeat to Kansas City five days earlier.
Scherzer dispelled the notion that his mechanics have been a problem.
"It was zero mechanics," Scherzer told MLB’s official website. "There were no mechanical issues going on. I know everybody wants to say after a bad outing there’s something going on, but there wasn’t. It’s about execution."
He didn’t have any problems against Houston on May 5, fanning nine while allowing three hits in eight innings of a 2-0 victory.
Scherzer also dominated them in a 17-2 road win May 4, 2013, yielding one run and three hits with eight strikeouts in eight innings.
He’ll try to help Detroit (43-33) get back in the win column after its seven-game win streak was snapped with a 4-3, 11-inning loss Friday. Jason Castro’s walkoff homer gave Houston only its third win in 12 meetings with the Tigers since it moved to the AL.
Ian Kinsler continued to swing a red-hot bat with three hits, his career-high sixth straight multi-hit game. The second baseman is hitting .436 with 11 RBIs and as many runs over the past 13 contests, including a seven-game hitting streak during which he’s 15 for 31.
He has a .343 average over his past 25 meetings with the Astros (35-46), collecting eight hits in the past four.
Houston’s Jose Altuve has been even hotter lately, going 21 for 42 with eight stolen bases in 10 games.
The second baseman leads the majors with 33 multi-hit games, one more than Kinsler. Altuve stole home in the fifth inning Friday, and finished 4 for 5 with two runs and two steals.
"I’m somewhat speechless," manager Bo Porter said when asked about Altuve’s night. "It’s impressive to have the kind of impact he’s having on the baseball game each and every time he takes the field."
Altuve, though, is 0 for 7 against Scherzer, who has held Castro hitless in six at-bats while fanning him five times.
A second straight win against the Tigers likely will require a better performance from Dallas Keuchel (8-5, 2.78), who is 0-2 with a 5.54 ERA in his last two starts after going 6-3 with a 2.14 ERA in his previous nine.
The left-hander went the distance in a 5-2 loss at Tampa Bay on Sunday, allowing five runs and nine hits with four walks in eight innings.
Keuchel struggled in his only home start against the Tigers on May 2, 2013, allowing four runs with four walks in 4 1-3 innings of a 7-3 defeat. However, he was impressive in a 6-2 win at Detroit on May 8, yielding two runs with seven strikeouts in 7 2-3 innings.
He’ll try to help Houston win three in a row for the first time since a season-high seven-game run from May 24-30.