A favorite opponent and a familiar result. Now Max Scherzer is a win away from matching Roger Clemens.
Scherzer's 13-0 record puts him behind only three starters in the Live Ball Era: Clemens (14-0 in 1986), Dave McNally (15-0 in 1969) and Johnny Allen (15-0 in 1937). Scherzer's next start figures to come Monday on the road against the Cleveland Indians, a team he's defeated twice already this season.
On Wednesday he faced his favorite American League opponent. His 1.59 ERA against the Toronto Blue Jays entering the game was his lowest against any AL opponent he's faced multiple times. After allowing two runs in six and one-third innings in the win, he's now 4-0 with a 1.78 ERA against the Blue Jays.
How he did it
Here's a breakdown of what Scherzer did well to beat the Blue Jays:
• Mixed up his out pitches: he recorded at least one strikeout with four different pitches for just the third time this season.
Scherzer K by Pitch Type
• Tough with men on base: four of his seven hits allowed came with the bases empty. With men on, batters were just 3-for-13 and all three hits came in the sixth inning when he allowed both runs.
• Got batters to swing at bad pitches: his chase percentage of 36.4 was his second-highest of the season and four of his eight strikeouts came on pitches out of the zone.
• Continued to mow down lefties: five of his eight strikeouts were against lefties. This season his 85 strikeouts against lefties are the most in baseball.
• Survived: Scherzer cruised through five innings, allowing just two hits while striking out six. In his last inning and a third, the Blue Jays went 5-for-9 (3-for-6 vs his fastball & 2-2 vs his changeup) and scored both runs.
Winning and whiffing
As the Elias Sports Bureau notes, not only has Scherzer avoided a loss in every start this season, he's also recorded at least six strikeouts in each one of them. Elias reports that Scherzer is the first pitcher to fan six or more batters in each of his first 17 starts of a season since 2000. Both Pedro Martinez (his first 29 starts) and Randy Johnson (first 23) did so that year.