In the bottom of the second inning, Scherzer walked Justin Morneau and Ryan Doumit. Pitching Coach Jeff Jones made a quick visit to the mound and the rest of the day for the Twins was, well, miserable.
Scherzer then struck out Trevor Plouffe, Jamey Carroll and Alexi Casilla consecutively and in essence ended the Twins chances that day.
Living with the occasional walks has been a small inconvenience considering the season Scherzer is assembling. Wednesday’s win was his 12th of the year, and with each passing start it is becoming more apparent that the Tigers have another dominating pitcher that can miss a lot of bats.
Scherzer’s 10 strikeouts on Wednesday vaulted him to the top of the strikeout charts in the major leagues with 178. That in itself is impressive, but for the Tigers, his second half is turning into a potential key to the club’s playoff chances. Justin Verlander will dominate and Doug Fister is back. Scherzer’s contributions would give the Tigers three solid performers for the postseason.
Since the All-Star break, Max is 4-1 with a 3.74 ERA in seven starts. While these numbers are far from remarkable on their own, it’s the personal issues that Scherzer has overcome that make them impressive.
Opposing hitters provide a big enough challenge, but Scherzer has had to pitch around another obstacle. In June this year, Max’s brother Alex took his own life, leaving Scherzer and his family dealing with a deep personal loss.
Shortly after learning of the news of Alex’s death, Max took the mound in Pittsburgh on June 23rd, refusing to miss a start. Scherzer said at the time that it was the best thing for his family and everyone involved. Still, to overcome such an incredible loss and perform the way he has, is remarkable to me.
Since that start on June 23rd at PNC Park, Scherzer is 6-2 with a 3.47 ERA. He has piled up 78 strikeouts in just over 62 innings. Numbers aside, Scherzer’s willingness to compete, and do it at a high level, deserves our highest respect.
Watching him perform every fifth day leaves me wondering how he is able to do it. Only Max can answer that question, but it is one of the most impressive things I have seen on a major league field.