Tigers need Max-imum output

Tigers need Max-imum output

Published Jun. 18, 2012 3:44 p.m. ET

Watching Max Scherzer pitch is like trying to believe in
Lucy Van Pelt.

As enticing as it might be to surrender to their talent of persuasion, one knows
in the end that they’ll end up flat on their back, looking up at the sky and
vowing to never go down that road again.

Unlike Lucy, who will always pull the football away, Scherzer is even more
confounding because he’ll actually show a glimpse of how dominate he can be,
only to revert back to his old ways at the most inopportune times.

Scherzer’s performance Sunday against the Colorado Rockies at Comerica Park was
brilliant. Eight innings of shutout baseball — sandwiched between a 53-minute
rain delay — with 12 strikeouts and zero walks is why Scherzer is the most
baffling starter in recent Detroit history.

With the victory, Scherzer’s record is 6-4 with an ERA of 5.17. In his 14
starts this season, he’s given up 90 hits in 78 1/3 innings pitched. He’s
struck out 100 while walking only 29.  He's given up 13 home runs, the
most on the Tigers staff, and his WHIP is an alarming 1.52.

The Tigers are inching closer to the .500 mark, and since their division is
extremely weak, they could find themselves on top of the AL Central in a short
period of time — if Scherzer can duplicate the consistency of Sunday’s start.

Justin Verlander, Doug Fister and Scherzer are a formidable trio who can eat up
innings and reduce the pressure on the Tigers bullpen and offense — parts of
the team's repertoire that have been erratic and dealing with health issues all
season long.

Anything that the Tigers can get from Rick Porcello is a bonus. I’m not giving
up on the 23 year-old right-hander, but I’m not counting on him to be anything
but a .500 starter, which is alright for now.

Jacob Turner? Let’s just say that if his showcase start Thursday against the
St. Louis Cardinals is impressive, the Tigers should trade him now — while he
still has some value — for a right-handed hitting second baseman, outfielder
or part of a package deal to acquire another starting pitcher.

That’s why all roads lead back to Scherzer. It’s the easiest solution to get
the Tigers on the right path.

Nobody can be lights out each and every start, but Scherzer needs to finally
step up his game. If and when he does, they’ll be a stampede to board the Max
Love Train.

Detroit fans can only hope it’s a smooth ride that doesn’t eventually derail
somewhere down the track, leaving them flat on our backs muttering, “Never