Max Scherzer tossed seven solid innings of baseball as the Tigers routed the Red Sox 10-3. Scherzer held the Sox to two runs on six hits and no walks while striking out six, improving his record to 11-0. Per ESPN Stats & Info, he became the first starter to start 11-0 since Roger Clemens in 1997 with the Blue Jays. Additionally, Scherzer is the first Tigers starter to begin the season 11-0 since George Mullin in 1909.
After years of inconsistency where he showed flashes of ace-like potential, Scherzer has finally put it together in 2013. He has the second best strikeout rate among all Major League starters at 31 percent, behind Yu Darvish at 34 percent. He has only walked 6.5 percent of batters faced, giving him the 11th-best strikeout-to-walk ratio. The AL Cy Young field is crowded with contestants at the moment, what with teammate Anibal Sanchez, division rival Chris Sale, along with Clay Buchholz, Felix Hernandez, and Yu Darvish, among others. Scherzer belongs in the conversation and could very well go home with some hardware after the season.
Veteran utilityman Reid Brignac is in camp with the Astros on a minor league deal. The 31-year-old is close to being done as a major leaguer as he owns a career .219/.264/.309 triple-slash line across parts of nine seasons. In an effort to prolong his big league career, Brignac is now attempting to become a switch-hitter, MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart reports.
I’m going to try it out this year. It was something that I just thought long and hard about and I was like, ‘OK, I’m going to try and see how it goes.’ I used to switch-hit when I was younger off and on, nothing consistent. I could always handle the bat right-handed. I play golf right-handed, so I do a lot of things that way that feel natural.
I just want to get to the point where I’m trying to stay in games, not get pinch-hit for, not starting games because a lefty is starting. … That could help me stay in the games longer. I’m trying to add a new element. I play multiple positions and now if I can switch hit and be consistent at it, then that can only help me.
As Brignac mentions, he’s also verstile. He’s a shortstop by trade, but has also logged plenty of innings at second base and third base, and has occasionally played corner outfield.
There aren’t any examples — at least that I can think of — where players began switch-hitting late in their careers and actually succeeding in the major leagues. As the saying goes, you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. But here’s hoping Brignac bucks the trend.
Angels shortstop Andrelton Simmons fell off the map a bit last year due to a combination of the Angels’ mediocrity, Simmons’ lack of offense, and a month-plus of missed action due to a torn ligament in his left thumb.
Simmons is still as good and as smart as ever on defense. That was on full display Monday when the Angels hosted the Padres for an afternoon spring exhibition.
With a runner on first base and nobody out in the top of the second inning, Carlos Asuaje grounded a 2-0 J.C. Ramirez fastball to right field. The runner, Hunter Renfroe, advanced to third base. Meanwhile, Asuaje wandered a little too far off the first base bag. Simmons cut off the throw to first base, spun around and fired to Luis Valbuena at first base. Valbuena swiped the tag on Asuaje for the first out of the inning.