Last week Max Scherzer pitched with a heavy heart, starting a game three days after his brother’s death, but now the Tigers right-hander will miss at least one turn in the rotation with a hamstring injury.
Scherzer was scheduled to start today versus Minnesota, but Duane Below will make the start instead. General manager Dave Dombrowski told Anthony Odoard of MLB.com that the Tigers “have confidence” that Scherzer will remain on the active roster and start Sunday.
He apparently suffered the injury while doing some between-starts running and wasn’t happy with how it felt when testing it with a bullpen session yesterday.
Scherzer leads the American League with 11.4 strikeouts per nine innings, but for the second straight season he’s allowed opponents to bat above .270 with a disappointing ERA (4.98). He has been much improved since a brutal April, posting a 3.95 ERA and 87/19 K/BB ratio in 66 innings since May 1.
Following the Astros’ decisive 4-0 shutout over the Yankees on Saturday night, Justin Verlander was named the Most Valuable Player of the American League Championship Series. Hall of Fame outfielder and former MLB manager Frank Robinson handed the award to Verlander, who was beaming as he thanked his teammates and members of the Astros’ organization.
“I’ve got to say, it came down to the wire, and one thing kept going off in my head was Dallas,” Verlander told the crowd gathered at Minute Maid Park. “When he called me, he said that I won’t regret my decision to join the Houston Astros. And here we are right now, it’s the best feeling in the world. We’ve got four more wins to win a World Series, and I do not regret my decision to come here. This is the best feeling a player can have. So, thank you.”
Among a cast that boasted the likes of Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa and Dallas Keuchel, among others, Verlander was spectacular. He locked down a complete game win in Game 2, holding the Yankees to one run on five hits and a walk and striking out a postseason-high 13 batters. In Game 6, he saved the Astros from elimination with seven scoreless innings, helping propel the club to their eventual 7-1 finish that set up their series-clinching finale on Saturday.
The 34-year-old righty also took his place among some postseason greats. Thanks to an eight-strikeout outing on Friday night, his collective 136 postseason strikeouts are good for sixth-most in MLB playoff history, just a smidgen shy of Tom Glavine (143), Mike Mussina (145), Roger Clemens (173), Andy Pettitte (183) and John Smoltz (199). He also joined Bob Gibson, Curt Schilling and Sandy Koufax as one of just four hurlers to strike out 20+ Yankees in a postseason series.