Any doubt that Max Scherzer is on the absolute ride of his life was alleviated in his last outing at home against Oakland. Scherzer left the game with his team down 6-1 only to come out with a no-decision in a walk-off Detroit victory. The game could have been Scherzer’s second loss on the year. Instead he wriggles off the hook and gets a second crack at becoming the first pitcher to start a season 20-1 since Roger Clemens did it as a Yankee in 2001. Despite the dynamite numbers, Scherzer goes off at evens against a tough home Jon Lester.
So you may have noticed I’ve had Jon Lester on semi-automatic fade for a little bit now. He’s gone 1-1 in those last two fades – winning as a road pup and losing as a home favorite. He’s a small home favorite here.
I don’t hate Lester in this spot but that doesn’t mean I’m about to go out and make him a favorite against your 2013 American League Cy Young. No word on Miguel Cabrera but I assume Miggy watches this one from the dugout again. That said, you don’t score as many runs as the Tigers without some additional firepower. Question: who has the most hits in baseball since the beginning of July? That would be Victor Martinez. Martinez returns to his prior (albeit brief) stomping grounds on a nine-game hitting streak. His power numbers are down this year but Martinez has always been a pure hitter from both sides of the plate. He hits a shade below .300 with an OBP over .350. And Victor has also has torched Lester in a small career batch of at-bats (6-10 vs. Lester).
Actually, the Tigers have torched Lester as a club. In over 120 career at-bats against Lester, the Tigers hit .397 as a team. I don’t put much stock in this because many of the at-bats are via Cabrera, Peralta and a younger Torii Hunter. Lester has been about as good at home as he has been on the road this season, posting similar splits in just about every major pitching category. Lester started very sharp last week against Baltimore, then struggled to settle in, then ended up settling in very nicely. In all, the lefty went six innings and only gave up three runs on five hits. That’s kind of been the story with Lester all year, though. He looks very nice in spurts of innings but can’t seem to avoid the one inning that limits the quality of his entire outing. I’m not sure Detroit’s lineup is thin enough for Lester to dodge the bad inning Tuesday either. Up and down the lineup, Detroit hits with power and patience. I don’t see Lester being able to out-duel Scherzer.
Free Pick: Detroit First 5 Innings +100