Tigers starter Max Scherzer silenced White Sox hitters over seven and two-thirds innings tonight, improving to 16-1 with the 3-0 victory. The right-hander allowed three hits and three walks while striking out six, lowering his ERA to 2.85. Scherzer got two quick outs in the seventh, but was lifted for newly-acquired reliever Jose Veras after Alejandro De Aza singled to center. Joaquin Benoit took over in the ninth and converted the save, his 12th of the year.
The Tigers’ three runs came on three solo home runs by Torii Hunter, Jhonny Peralta, and Jose Iglesias. They were again without Miguel Cabrera, who hasn’t played since July 30. This season, the Tigers are, astonishingly, 7-1 without him (via ESPN Stats & Info). Cabrera hopes he’ll be able to play tomorrow, per MLB.com’s Jason Beck.
The win moves the first-place Tigers to 63-45. The Indians defeated the Marlins 4-3 tonight, holding the three-game differential between the two clubs in the AL Central.
Former Yankees closer Mariano Rivera deservingly became the first player ever inducted into the Hall of Fame unanimously, receiving votes from all 425 writers who submitted ballots. Previously, the closest players to unanimous induction were Ken Griffey, Jr. (99.32% in 2016), Tom Seaver (98.84% in 1992), Nolan Ryan (98.79% in 1999), Cal Ripken, Jr. (98.53%), Ty Cobb (98.23% in 1936), and George Brett (98.19% in 1999).
Because so many greats were not enshrined in Cooperstown unanimously, many voters in the past argued against other players getting inducted unanimously, withholding their votes for otherwise deserving players. That Griffey — both one of the greatest outfielders of all time and one of the most popular players of all time — wasn’t voted in unanimously in 2016, for example, seemed to signal that no player ever would. Now that Rivera has been, this tired argument about voting unanimity can be laid to rest.
Derek Jeter will appear on the Hall of Fame ballot for the first time next year. He may become the second player ever to be elected unanimously. David Ortiz appears on the 2022 ballot and could be No. 3. Now that Rivera has broken through, these are possibilities whereas before they might not have been.
Another tired argument around Hall of Fame voting concerns whether or not a player is a “first ballot” Hall of Famer. Some voters think getting enshrined in a player’s first year of eligibility is a greater honor than getting in any subsequent year. I’m not sure what it will take to get rid of this argument — other than the electorate getting younger and more open-minded — but at least we have made progress on at least one bad Hall of Fame take.