No. 171 Max Scherzer (Number 42 Pitcher)

Scherzer has been mentioned in the Cy Young voting 8 of the last 9 years. The only year he isn’t mentioned was the shortened season. I give out more points with modern pitchers for the Cy Young award votes to compete with pitchers from previous eras. It helps make up for pitchers pitching less innings.

I thought the Tigers had two aces in the 2012 World Series, but at that time Scherzer was a good, but not great pitcher. He pitched OK in the series, but the Tigers lost game 4 which he started. In 2013 he became an ace.

In 2013 it looked like the Tigers were going to take advantage of having Scherzer and Verlander on their staff and make it to the World Series. Verlander didn’t have his normal great season but was still solid. Scherzer won the Cy Young Award. In the first round Scherzer won two games against the A’s (one in relief) and Verlander didn’t give up a run in two starts. In one of the games, he got a no decision.

In game 1 Anibal Sanchez started the first game as Scherzer and Verlander had pitched late in the series with the A’s. However, Sanchez had an excellent season that year leading the league In ERA and coming in forth for the Cy Young Award. I have him as the 369th best pitcher in my rankings. However, 2013 was by far his best season. Sanchez pitched 6 innings without giving up a walk or a hit. Sanchez who normally was a good control pitcher gave up 6 walks. He made up for that with 12 strikeouts. This caused him to throw a lot of pitches meaning he was relieved after 6 innings.

The relief staff gave up 1 hit the rest of the way and that was by relief ace Joaquin Benoit who gave up a one out single in the ninth. Detroit won the game 1-0.

The Scherzer pitched 5 hitless innings in game 2 to start the game. The announcers made a big deal out of the Detroit pitchers giving up only 1 hit in 14 innings. Scherzer gave up 2 hits for one run in the sixth. However, Detroit had a 5-1 lead. Then Scherzer pitched a 1, 2, 3 seventh. Scherzer was then taken out of the game and Detroit’s chances of winning the game were 96 percent when he left.

Then things fell apart, slowly. The Red Sox loaded the bases with 2 outs against 3 Detroit pitchers. The odds of winning the game were still 93 percent for Detroit, but David Ortez was coming to the plate. He had done it in the clutch before, so relief ace Joaquin Benoit came in the game to face Ortez. Ortez hit the famous grand slam that barely cleared the fence. In fact, poor Right Fielder Torii Hunter fell over the fence trying to catch the ball. It is on Youtube and is worth watching. The homerun tied the game and Boston won the game in the ninth. That homerun seemed to change the momentum of the series and Boston won the series in six games.

Detroit made the playoffs the next year, but their three starters pitched a little worse. Scherzer still had an outstanding season, but not as good as the year before. They were swept in the first round by the Baltimore Orioles.

Scherzer left as a free agent and Detroit had only one winning season after he left and hasn’t been back in the playoffs. Scherzer went to the Washington Nationals. He was a great pitcher for them for 6 and half seasons and helped pitched (with another great season and post season) to a World Series victory in 2019. He is now with the Mets building his resume with a solid start this season.

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