For nearly the duration of the 2013 season, Max Scherzer is in a zone that not many pitchers ever occupy.
The Detroit Tigers right-hander won his 15th game of the season (before the end of July, no less) in a 10-0 drubbing of the lowly Philadelphia Phillies on Saturday night. Scherzer tossed 6 sparkling, one-hit innings in the win, and struck out 7 Philadelphia hitters for good measure.
Of course, Scherzer received some pretty significant help in route to a 10-run margin of victory, and the best hitter on the planet jumped in to the fray. Miguel Cabrera went 2-for-3 with a home run and 3 RBI, raising his slash line to a ridiculous .361/.455/.674 (with 32 home runs), and he was flanked by a 3-hit night from the suddenly solid Victor Martinez. However, the story of the night, even in the midst of the Cabrera madness, was Scherzer.
After Saturday’s outing, Scherzer’s ERA is “only” 3.01, but with a FIP of 2.72 and xFIP of 2.86, it appears that he has been a little bit unlucky along the way. Obviously, the 15 wins are more of a team-generated item than anything else, but you can’t find a pitcher like Scherzer, with his 10.27 K/9 to go along with those ratios, growing on trees. He has fully arrived as an “ace” in the American League, and frankly, his ascent has come just in time to save the Tigers in the wake of a struggling Justin Verlander.
Welcome to “ace”-hood, Max Scherzer.