Tigers starter Max Scherzer entered his final start of the first half a sterling 13-0 with a 3.06 ERA. With a victory over the Rangers tonight, he could have improved to 14-0, matching Roger Clemens’ historic start in 1986. The Rangers, however, had other ideas.
Scherzer allowed three runs in the top of the third on an A.J. Pierzynski sacrifice fly and a Mitch Moreland two-run home run. After the Tigers eked out a run in the bottom of the fourth on a Hernan Perez RBI single, Pierzynski got it back with an RBI double in the top of the fifth. Scherzer lasted six innings, allowing eight hits and walking two while striking out six. He is now 13-1 with a 3.19 ERA, still quite good.
The Rangers added three more runs in the top of the ninth against Al Albuquerque as Nelson Cruz hit an RBI single and Adrian Beltre hit a two-run home run.Rangers starter Derek Holland on point, surrendering one run over seven innings. Joaquin Soria pitched a scoreless eighth and Neal Cotts pitched a scoreless ninth to nail down the 7-1 victory.
Royals’ Opening Day starter Danny Duffy weathered a minor scare during Saturday’s Cactus League game against the Diamondbacks. The left-hander was removed from his final spring training start after experiencing some left shoulder tightness in the second and third innings. No lasting damage appears to have been done — Duffy told reporters that he simply felt a slight ache, nothing more — and it looks like he’ll remain on track to open the season with the team next Thursday.
The 29-year-old southpaw is coming off one of his best performances to date. Despite losing a few weeks to an oblique strain and elbow soreness, he went 9-10 in 24 starts and finished the 2017 season with a 3.81 ERA, 2.5 BB/9 and 8.0 SO/9 over 146 1/3 innings. While Duffy entered camp with a clean bill of health, he struggled to execute against his spring training opponents and racked up 13 runs, four homers, seven walks and 11 strikeouts in 13 innings of Cactus League play.
The Royals are scheduled to kick off their home opener against the White Sox on Thursday, March 29 at 4:15 PM ET. Barring any further complications with his shoulder, Duffy will take the mound for the Royals, while James Shields is expected to make his first Opening Day appearance for the White Sox.