Scherzer shoots for 15th win versus skidding Phils
Max Scherzer goes after his major league-leading 15th win on Saturday when the Detroit Tigers play the middle test of a three-game series with the Philadelphia Phillies at Comerica Park.
Scherzer started his second half in winning fashion on Monday, as he held the Chicago White Sox to a pair of runs and four hits in eight innings. He also struck out five without walking a batter and improved to 14-1, while lowering his ERA to 3.14.
"When you look at the swings and misses, obviously if you're able to generate strikeouts and minimize walks, that's a huge recipe for success," Scherzer said. "Those are results of attacking hitters with four pitches. The process is using four pitches. Analyzing results is looking at the strikeout-to-walk rate."
The right-hander won for the 20th time in his last 30 starts since Aug. 10, the most in the majors in that span. However, Scherzer lost to the Phils the only time he faced them, allowing five runs in just four innings.
Philadelphia, meanwhile, turns to lefty Raul Valdes, who makes a spot start in place of Cliff Lee. Amid trade rumors with Wednesday's non-waiver trade deadline approaching, Lee was scratched on Friday with a stiff neck.
Valdes has a 7.59 ERA in 11 appearances out of the bullpen this season.
Detroit beat the Phillies for the first time at Comerica on Friday, as Alex Avila hit a two-run double to back Doug Fister, as the Tigers handed Cole Hamels his 13th loss of the season with a 2-1 victory.
Fister (9-5), who at one point retired 12 batters in a row, allowed an unearned run and three singles over eight innings for the AL Central-leading Tigers, who played without third baseman Miguel Cabrera (hip flexor) and outfielder Torii Hunter (sore Achilles).
"There were a couple of innings today (where I was) attacking the zone and within a couple of pitches they were hit right to guys," Fister said. "Lucky for me I have great defense behind me."
Joaquin Benoit pitched around a leadoff hit by Jimmy Rollins in the ninth to earn his 10th save. Rollins did move into scoring position, swiping second with one out and third with two gone, but Darin Ruf grounded out to second to end the game.
Hamels (4-13) had just the one hiccup, but the Phillies' offense continued to snooze. Philadelphia has scored only 10 runs during a season-high six-game losing streak.
This series marks the Phillies' first trip to Detroit since pulling off a series sweep in the 2002 season.