Max Scherzer tries once again to become just the second pitcher in baseball history to win 20 of his first 21 decisions on Tuesday when the Detroit Tigers continue a three-game series with the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park.
Scherzer failed in his bid for a 20th win on Thursday against Oakland, as the Athletics rocked him for six runs (5 earned) and eight hits in five innings. The Tigers' offense bailed him out, though, and Scherzer did not get a decision in a 7-6 win. He had been 6-0 with a 1.48 ERA in his previous seven starts.
"This is a team thing. In the grand scheme of things, I probably should have taken the loss.," said Scherzer, whose ERA climbed to 2.90. "I mean, it is what it is. Obviously it's an accomplishment, but I don't know how much that dictates how well you pitch."
Should he get a victory on Tuesday, Scherzer would join Roger Clemens (2001) as the only pitchers to begin a season 20-1.
Scherzer, though, may have to get by without the services of reigning Triple Crown winner Miguel Cabrera, who has missed the last three games with abdominal pain.
Detroit didn't need the magnificent Cabrera on Monday, as Andy Dirks drove in the game's first run with a triple in the seventh inning and the Tigers rolled to a 3-0 win.
Austin Jackson went 2-for-4 with a double and crossed the plate in the eighth for the Tigers, who have won four of their last five.
Doug Fister (12-7) spun seven full frames of shutout ball while only surrendering four hits with four strikeouts. The right-hander picked up his second win in his last three starts.
"A lot of it was the defense. I thought they turned three or four double plays. They were making great plays out there. The defense out in the outfield running down flyballs, Alex worked his butt off behind the plate, it's just a team win today," said Fister.
John Lackey (8-12) lasted 7 1/3 innings before being yanked having allowed three runs on seven hits. The right-hander recorded five strikeouts, but did not receive any run support from an offense that only managed six hits.
Daniel Nava had a strong showing at the plate with a walk, a single and two doubles for Boston, which lost for only the second time in nine games.
"They had their chances and for the most part we were able to limit them, except for that one inning. You feel for Lackey because he pitched really well and we just haven't been giving him the run support," said Nava.
Hoping to get the Red Sox back into the win column on Tuesday will be lefty Jon Lester, who is 12-8 with a 3.99 ERA. Lester lost to Baltimore on Thursday, as he allowed three runs and five hits in six innings.
"I felt like I had a pretty good fastball," Lester said Thursday, "just not a lot of command of really anything."
In six starts against the Tigers Lester is 1-2 with a 5.26 ERA.
Detroit has won four of five against the Red Sox this season, but has lost nine of 13 at Fenway since the start of 2010.