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 Orioles singlehandedly kept the rumor mill churning this weekend. MLB Network’s Jon Morosi reports that the club is interested in making a play for free agent right-hander Lance Lynn, adding him to a list of potential candidates that also includes free agent righty Alex Cobb. The two are expected to command similar contracts in free agency, but Morosi notes that the Orioles may prefer Cobb based on his familiarity with the AL East.
Lynn, 30, is two years removed from Tommy John surgery on his right elbow. Despite missing the 2016 season, he bounced back with a respectable 11-8 record in 33 starts and complemented his efforts with a 3.43 ERA, 3.8 BB/9 and 7.4 SO/9 over 186 1/3 innings for the 2017 Cardinals. He lost several days with a blister on his pitching hand in early September, but managed to avoid any major injuries and can reasonably be expected to shoulder another heavy workload in 2018.
Lynn may not be the Orioles’ first choice to beef up their starting rotation, but there’s no doubt that he’ll be in high demand as one of very few viable starters on the market this winter. The veteran righty rejected his one-year, $17.4 million qualifying offer from the Cardinals on Thursday and will likely be seeking a multi-year contract, one that Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch estimates around five years and $100+ million. If the Orioles are willing to bite that bullet, they’ll still need to compensate the Cardinals with their third pick in next year’s draft.