For the first time in major league history, All-Star starting pitchers will collide in the same regular season.
Detroit's Max Scherzer went up against Matt Harvey of the New York Mets on July 16 at Citi Field. Although the circumstances were such that neither pitcher would get a chance to show off by pitching a multitude of innings, both pitched relatively well. Scherzer threw a perfect inning, while Harvey gave up a double to start the contest and then hit a batter before settling down and retired the next six batters, including three strikeouts.
Scherzer, who is 5-0 over his last six starts, is the first pitcher in the majors off to an 18-1 start since Roger Clemens in 2001 for the New York Yankees. Clemens won 20 of his first 21 decisions that season before finishing 20-3.
Only once in his last nine starts has Scherzer given up more than two earned runs, and that resulted in his lone loss, 7-1 to the Texas Rangers on July 13.
It's been more than one calendar year since Scherzer suffered a road loss, July 30, 2012 at Boston. Since then, he's won 10 straight road decisions.
This will be the fourth time (3rd start) for Scherzer facing the Mets. He's 1-0 with a 4.26 ERA.
Harvey has a mediocre 2-3 mark over his last nine starts, but his 2.25 ERA is second-best in the National League, only behind Cy Young Award favorite Clayton Kershaw of the Los Angeles Dodgers. Harvey's 187 strikeouts are also second-most in the NL, one behind Kershaw.
John Buck, who has played in just one game since Aug. 15, will be behind the plate to catch Harvey instead of rookie Travis d'Arnaud.
"They've been together for 25 or 26 starts," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "They're pretty comfortable. Travis d`Arnaud will catch him for 15 years. We'll make up that ground."
This will be Harvey's first career appearance against the Tigers. The right- hander has been particularly strong in three interleague starts this season with against the Twins, White Sox and Yankees to go with a 0.72 ERA. He's allowed only two earned runs in 25 innings and has struck out 28 and walked just two batters. He's 1-0 in those three games, but the Mets have won all three of the contests.
"This is a perfect game for the fans, for the media. Don't blink because if you blink you're going to miss something," Tigers outfielder Torii Hunter said.
Last night, Austin Jackson, Hunter and Miguel Cabrera each hit a home run as the Tigers defeated the Mets, 6-1, in the opener of this three-game series at Citi Field.
Cabrera and Hunter each had a pair of hits, with Cabrera driving in three runs for the AL Central leaders. Omar Infante also had two hits with a run scored. Cabrera has reached base safely in each of his last 26 games.
Doug Fister (11-6) gave up one run on eight hits and two walks over 6 1/3 innings.
Marlon Byrd drove in the lone run for New York. Daisuke Matsuzaka (0-1), who signed with the Mets on Thursday, got the start but struggled in his season debut, surrendering five runs on six hits and a walk through five frames.
These teams are meeting in interleague play for the first time since 2011.