Tigers right-hander Max Scherzer won his sixth straight start and improved to 13-0 on the season after allowing two runs in 6 1/3 innings against the Blue Jays on Wednesday.
Scherzer is the first pitcher to start 13-0 since Roger Clemens opened up 14-0 for the Red Sox on his way to a Cy Young and MVP season in 1986.
The game included a benches-clearing incident after Torii Hunter took a Todd Redmond fastball off his shoulder in the sixth. The Tigers were already upset with the Blue Jays after Colby Rasmus knocked Omar Infante out of the game with an overly aggressive takeout slide in the fourth. No punches were thrown and no one was ejected.
Scherzer’s 13-0 start is tied for the fifth best since 1916. Rube Marquard’s 19-0 start in 1912 is believed to the best ever. Pirates reliever Roy Face started 17-0 before finishing 18-1 in 1950. For a starter, the best season-opening streak in the last 100 years is 15-0 by Johnny Allen in 1937 and Dave McNally in 1969.
The Red Sox are the latest team to extend the protective netting at their ballpark this winter. According to a statement by club president Sam Kennedy, the exact dimensions of the netting have yet to be determined, but it will likely stretch “all the way to Field Box 79, down the left field line and then all the way down to almost Canvas Alley in the Field Box 9 area.”
Fenway Park received additional protective netting prior to the 2016 season, when the netting behind home plate was lengthened to the home and visitor dugouts. Per Kennedy’s statement, the current expansion should cover everything but the outfield corners, making it nearly impossible for a line drive foul to reach fans in the lower boxes.
After a toddler sustained serious injuries from a 105-MPH foul ball to the face at Yankee Stadium last September, over half of all MLB teams decided to take more extreme preventative measures in advance of the 2018 season. The Brewers, Cardinals, Braves, Astros, Royals, Pirates, Rangers, Padres, Nationals, Mariners, Phillies, Mets, Reds, Blue Jays, Giants, Yankees, Twins and Indians are among the organizations to address the issue over the last several years, while others have yet to take significant action.