Max Scherzer’s bid to join the major league leaders in wins is coming at a park in which he’s experienced nothing but success.
The reigning AL Cy Young winner goes for his 14th victory Saturday in Toronto as the Detroit Tigers take on the skidding Blue Jays.
Scherzer (13-4, 3.24 ERA) is bidding to become the first AL pitcher to join Milwaukee’s Wily Peralta and St. Louis’ Adam Wainwright.
The right-hander has allowed three earned runs just once in his last eight starts while going 5-1 with a 2.14 ERA. He wasn’t thrilled with his latest outing as he gave up two runs and nine hits with three walks over seven innings of Monday’s 2-1 road loss to the Yankees.
"Without my best stuff, I found a way to be able to go deep into a game," Scherzer told MLB’s official website. "So there were some things I didn’t do quite as well tonight, but at the end of the day, I was able to get some results, and at least you can hang your hat on that."
His career against the Blue Jays has been even stronger than his recent run with a 4-0 record and 1.79 ERA in six starts. All three in Toronto have resulted in victories. Jose Bautista has still managed to cause some problems, going 8 for 14 with a home run and four doubles off Scherzer.
Detroit (63-50) opened the series with Friday’s 5-4 win behind a three-run ninth on home runs from No. 8 and 9 batters Nick Castellanos and Eugenio Suarez.
Suarez hadn’t been in the lineup for the previous three games due to a sprained left knee, while Torii Hunter returned after missing two games after being hit on the hand by a pitch Tuesday.
The Tigers, winners of four straight in Toronto, certainly weren’t going to be picky with where the offense came from after scoring six runs in losing three of four at Yankee Stadium.
"That was a good inning for us," manager Brad Ausmus said. "I think everyone thoroughly enjoyed it considering the way we had swung the bats in New York."
Miguel Cabrera went 0 for 5 and is 1 for 15 over the past five games. He’s 2 for 27 in his last seven against the Blue Jays and is batting .125 in 11 games at Rogers Centre since 2011, his worst at any AL park in that time.
The Blue Jays (61-56) lost for the sixth time in seven games, in which they’ve scored 17 runs, and fell a game behind the Yankees for second in the AL East.
Bautista went 2 for 4 and has reached base in 17 straight games. He’s a career .393 hitter against Detroit, which is by far his best average versus any team.
Marcus Stroman (7-3, 3.49) will try to correct things for the Blue Jays.
Stroman followed three stellar starts to end July with maybe his worst of the season to begin August. The rookie right-hander surrendered five runs and seven hits in three innings of Sunday’s 6-1 loss in Houston.
"I’d get ahead in counts and I’d have trouble putting guys away, where normally I’d be able to get those pitches down in the zone for punchouts," Stroman said. "It was a tough one, I’m not discouraged just looking forward to the next one, kind of put this one in the past."
Being at home, it could be easier to do that. Of his 12 starts, seven have come at Rogers Centre and resulted in a 5-1 record and 1.54 ERA.