Tigers-Mets Preview

A little more than one month after they both started the

All-Star game, Max Scherzer and Matt Harvey will square off at Citi

Field once again.

Scherzer will look to pick up his 19th victory on Saturday as

the Detroit Tigers visit Harvey and the New York Mets.

“I figure this place will be hopping pretty good,” Tigers

manager Jim Leyland said. “It should be fun.”

It’s the first time in history that two All-Star game starters

have faced off in the same regular season.

“You can’t beat that matchup,” Detroit’s Torii Hunter said. “If

you blink you’re going to miss something.”

Scherzer (18-1, 2.82 ERA) will look to become the fastest in the

major leagues to 19 victories since teammate Justin Verlander

picked up his 19th on Aug. 22, 2011, en route to a 24-win

season.

Scherzer has pushed his way toward the 20-victory mark with five

wins and a 1.69 ERA over his six starts since pitching a scoreless

first inning against the NL All-Stars. He has allowed two earned

runs or fewer each time, giving up just 21 hits in 42 2-3

innings.

He gave up two runs in eight innings of a 6-3 victory over

Kansas City on Sunday, pushing his streak without allowing a homer

to 34 2-3 innings.

Scherzer has taken advantage of some weak opposition in the

second half, making three of his last six starts against the White

Sox. The right-hander’s other three starts came against

Philadelphia and Kansas City, among the major league’s worst in

runs scored, and Cleveland, which is 26th in runs this month.

Scherzer has twice as many victories as Harvey (9-4, 2.25)

despite the 24-year-old’s lower ERA. Scherzer has the most

victories in a season with just one loss since Roger Clemens

started 20-1 in 2001. Much like Clemens, who had the fourth-highest

run support average in baseball that year, Scherzer has benefited

from a league-best 7.47 mark.

“The win-loss record is a little fluky,” Scherzer said. “Every

time I go out, the guys are putting up runs for me and are playing

great defense so I can’t take credit for being 18-1.”

Harvey has been nearly as good in his last five starts as his

first 20, though his record certainly doesn’t show it. The Mets

(58-68) have lost four of his last five starts despite his 2.34 ERA

and 30 strikeouts against three walks.

Harvey has gone 47 2-3 innings since last allowing a homer to

San Francisco’s Buster Posey on July 8.

Manager Terry Collins certainly wasn’t bemoaning Harvey’s latest

start, when the right-hander allowed two fifth-inning runs and left

after six Sunday in San Diego. He was in line for the victory

before the Padres scored once apiece in the eighth and ninth to win

4-3.

“Matt pitched great,” Collins said. “Cripes, they got a bloop

single, an infield single and we’re in trouble. He’s done what he’s

done all year for us and that’s pitch very well.”

Harvey, who fanned three in two innings of the Midsummer

Classic, is 1-0 with a 0.72 ERA in three interleague starts. AL

batters are hitting just .107 off Harvey, fanning 28 times in 25

innings.

Those outings, however, came against the Twins, White Sox and

Yankees, none of whom are in the top half of the majors in runs per

game.

The Tigers (75-53) are a different story. Detroit pounded three

home runs in Friday’s 6-1 win, including a three-run shot from

Miguel Cabrera that was his ninth in his last 17 games.

Austin Jackson has home runs in consecutive nights for Detroit

and is 10 for his last 22.

Scherzer hasn’t faced the Mets since 2009, when he was still

with Arizona.