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 Cubs soundly defeated the Cardinals on Monday night, 10-2, sending their magic number down to one. They will try to clinch the NL Central on Tuesday with another win against the Cardinals. Alternatively, if they lose, they can still clinch if the Brewers also lose on Tuesday.
The Cubs, of course, won the Central last year en route to winning their first World Series since 1908. It wasn’t nearly as easy this year as the club was below .500 entering June and was exactly at .500 entering July. A 16-8 July, 17-12 August, and 15-8 September have helped put the Cubs back in position to return to the postseason.
Not to be forgotten, the Cardinals were eliminated from NL Central contention with Monday’s loss. Now they have their sights set on the second NL Wild Card slot and currently trail the Rockies in that race.
The matchups for Tuesday’s action:
Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union Tribune reports that Padres pitcher Carter Capps will undergo surgery this offseason to address thoracic outlet syndrome, which doctors believe caused the right-hander’s blood clots. The Padres hope to have him ready by spring training next year.
Capps, 27, underwent Tommy John surgery last year and didn’t debut this season until August 7. He made 11 relief appearances, yielding nine runs on 12 hits and two walks with seven strikeouts in 12 1/3 innings. He went back on the DL on September 12 due to the blood clot issue.
The Padres acquired Capps from the Marlins last July in the Andrew Cashner trade which ended up having a lot of moving parts. Capps will enter his third and final year of arbitration eligibility this offseason. It’s quite possible the Padres choose to non-tender him.