Scherzer dominant in shutout over Rockies

DETROIT — Sunday was what’s known as a blue-eyed day
for Max Scherzer.

Scherzer has one blue eye and one brown eye, which is officially known as
heterochromia. The joke goes that if he’s pitching well, he’s having a
blue-eyed day and if he’s not, it’s a brown-eyed day.

Scherzer was at his tantalizing best Sunday, dominating the Colorado Rockies
for eight innings in a 5-0 shutout. He struck out 12 and did not walk a single
batter. He threw 122 pitches, 89 for strikes.

Not even a 53-minute rain delay that came in the fourth inning with runners at
first and third could bother him.

As soon as the rain stopped, while the grounds crew worked on the field,
Scherzer threw in the outfield. He said there was no way he was coming out of
the game at that point.

“Yeah, otherwise, I was flippin’ chairs,” Scherzer said. “I
wanted to stay in that game. I didn’t care if we were playing at 9 o’clock at
night. I wanted to stay in that game.”

The way the bullpen has been taxed lately, manager Jim Leyland was willing to
let Scherzer go back out.

“Somewhere between 45 minutes and an hour is usually our time limit,”
Leyland said. “He was really good. He didn’t miss a beat. In fact, he
might have gotten better when he came back out.”

It only took Scherzer two pitches to get out of his pre-rain delay jam, getting
Chris Nelson to ground into the inning-ending fielder’s choice.

Colorado Rockies manager Jim Tracy impressed.

“He came out stronger after the rain delay and threw over 120
pitches,” Tracy said. “That’s the performance of a warrior and a
stud.”

Ramon Santiago, who had a two-RBI single after the Rockies intentionally walked
Jhonny Peralta in the third inning, said Scherzer coming back after the delay
helped inspire the team – especially with the way he was pitching.

“That’s one of the best games I’ve ever seen him pitch, and I’ve seen him
pitch a lot of good games,” Santiago said. 

Leyland said Scherzer had everything working.

“He really had good stuff today,” Leyland said. “I mean, 97, 98,
slider, changeup, command of the strike zone. He just attacked the strike zone
with outstanding stuff. Really kind of overmatched them, to be honest with
you.”

It’s just this kind of outing that makes Tigers fans drool. With the repertoire
that Leyland described, it’s surprising and often annoying that Scherzer can’t pitch
like that on a consistent basis.

“I’ve been pitching pretty well, but I just haven’t been getting results,”
Scherzer said. “(Sunday), I was able to execute, and I got good results,
and it was a good Tigers win.”

It also marked the first time the Tigers have won three consecutive series this
season, which made Scherzer happier than he was with just his own personal
performance.

“I think that’s the most important thing, that we’re winning series,”
Scherzer said. “You don’t get caught up in winning streaks, or anything
like that. As long as you’re winning series, that’s the most important
thing.”

At 32-34, the Tigers are inching closer to the second-place Cleveland Indians,
who are 33-32 after losing on Sunday. The Chicago White Sox, who also lost on
Sunday, are atop the AL Central with a 35-31 mark, just three games ahead of
the third-place Tigers.  So the division
certainly remains in reach.

“I think they’re in a pretty good frame of mind,” Leyland said of his
team. “We’re still not over the hump yet as far as getting that little
extra edge that you need with that mean streak in you. We’re getting there, and
I think we will.

“We get (Doug) Fister back in the rotation and Scherzer pitching like he
did (Sunday) or close to something like that, (Rick) Porcello going, we’ll have
that mean streak. We’ll get it.”