Max Scherzer and Felix Hernandez have proven themselves as two
of baseball’s best strikeout pitchers in recent years – so one
might expect a lot of swings and misses in a game that features
The two will face each other for the first time Wednesday night
as the Detroit Tigers meet the Seattle Mariners for the second of
their three-game set at Safeco Field.
Scherzer ranks fifth in the majors since 2009 with an average of
9.3 strikeouts per nine innings, while Hernandez isn’t far behind
at 8.4. They finished second and fifth last season with 231 and 223
Scherzer (1-0, 4.09 ERA) is coming off a solid outing, limiting
Oakland to two runs and five hits while striking out 11 in six
innings of Friday’s 4-3, 12-inning loss.
Hernandez (1-2, 3.05) wasn’t exactly sparkling in his first home
start since signing a $175 million extension in the offseason,
giving up four runs and 10 hits in 6 2-3 innings in Thursday’s 4-3
loss to Texas.
“I had pretty good stuff, just made a couple of mistakes,” he
Hernandez has a tough task ahead of him in trying to slow down
Detroit’s red-hot offense. The Tigers (8-5) have won four of five
while scoring at least six runs in six of their last seven. They
won 6-2 in Tuesday’s series opener, their seventh straight game
with at least 10 hits.
Miguel Cabrera had a home run and his second four-RBI game, and
Austin Jackson’s sensational start continued as he was 2 for 4 with
two runs. Jackson has reached base in all 13 games while scoring in
11 for a total of 19 runs. He’s batting .405 during a seven-game
Six Detroit hitters with at least 40 at-bats are hitting .300 or
“We’re just feeding off each other,” Jackson said. “Everybody’s
trying to go up and have good at-bats and let the results take care
Meanwhile, the Mariners (6-9) have plated three runs or fewer in
five of six.
“We’ve got to get the offense going. Loosen things up around
here,” manager Eric Wedge said. “You get a couple of guys going,
you start to gain a little momentum and it gives everyone a little
more room to breathe and games aren’t always so tight.”
Michael Morse and Franklin Gutierrez both returned to Seattle’s
lineup Tuesday after missing the previous three games, but neither
provided a huge lift. Morse, who out been out because of a
non-displaced fracture of his pinkie, went 1 for 4 with an RBI,
while Gutierrez, sidelined by leg soreness, was hitless in four
Scherzer had a 2.00 ERA in winning each of his first four career
starts against the Mariners, before getting tagged for five runs in
five innings in a 7-4 loss on April 24. Kendrys Morales is 3 for 9
against him with two doubles and a triple, while Gutierrez has a
double and a homer in six at-bats versus Scherzer.
Hernandez has gotten the better of the Tigers, going 9-2 with a
2.65 ERA in 12 career starts, though Cabrera is 9 for 21 (.429)