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.
Dodgers’ left fielder Andrew Toles crushed his first spring training home run on Saturday afternoon. With the bases loaded and a two-run deficit hanging over their heads in the fourth inning, Toles stepped up to the plate against Oakland right-hander Jesse Hahn and unloaded a grand slam on the second pitch he saw.
Third baseman Justin Turner was quick to follow up with a solo jack of his own, bringing the score to a comfortable 7-4 lead by the end of the fourth. Another three-run outburst in the fifth and an eighth-inning RBI single by Austin Barnes raised the final score to 11-6… which, coincidentally, was the same score the Reds used to defeat the Athletics’ second split-squad lineup on Saturday (albeit with a few more RBI walks than grand slams).
Toles, 24, is approaching his sophomore season with the Dodgers in 2017. He slashed .314/.365/.505 with three home runs and an .870 OPS in his first major league season in 2016 and is expected to platoon with the right-handed Franklin Gutierrez in left field this year.
David Price showed “strength improvements” in his elbow on Saturday, but Red Sox’ manager John Farrell still doesn’t think the left-hander will be ready to throw by the start of the season — or for a few weeks afterward. According to ESPN’s Scott Lauber, the 31-year-old might not be ready to debut until May at the earliest.
Price hasn’t thrown off of a mound this spring after experiencing soreness in his left elbow on March 1. Surgery doesn’t appear to be necessary, but the Red Sox are playing it extra safe with their No. 3 starter in hopes that rest and rehabilitation will return him to full health sometime during the 2017 season. For now, Price has been restricted to short games of catch until he’s cleared to resume a more rigorous throwing program. Via MLB.com’s Ian Browne:
[There were] strength improvements to the point of putting the ball back in his hand a little more consistently,” said manager John Farrell. “Today’s the first step for that. A short game of catch. That’s what he’s going through. Not off a mound but just to get the arm moving with a ball in flight, and he will continue in this phase for a period of time. There’s no set distance and volume yet to the throws.
The lefty is coming off of a lackluster 2016 season, during which he delivered a 3.99 ERA, 2.0 BB/9 and 8.9 SO/9 over 230 innings for the Red Sox.