Max Scherzer had done just about everything possible from a pitching perspective over the last two seasons. He filled in a missing blank on Thursday with his first career complete game, a three-hit shutout against the Chicago White Sox
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Scherzer made 178 starts before finishing what he started.
The Elias Sports Bureau notes that before Scherzer, the pitcher who had started the most games in baseball's modern era without ever completing one was Tony Armas (167).
Scherzer was in need of a start like this. He entered the night with a 6.84 ERA and .354 opponents’ batting average in his four previous starts.
The Tigers ace has won his last four decisions against the White Sox. This season, he’s 3-0 with an 0.86 ERA against them. He’s also 16-1 against AL Central teams over the last two seasons.
Key matchup: Scherzer vs Jose Abreu
Scherzer has done a nice job against Jose Abreu, holding him to one hit in 10 at-bats in the three meetings between the teams.
On Thursday, Abreu was 0 for 4. Scherzer threw 11 pitches to Abreu and all 11 were in the lower half of the strike zone or below.
That was smart, considering that Abreu is hitting .389 with misses on 20 percent of his swings in the upper half of the zone, but is hitting .199 with a 39 percent miss rate in the lower half or below.
Scherzer averaged 93 mph with his fastball and that velocity held through the final three innings of the game. His fastest pitch of the game was his last pitch of the game—a 96 mph fastball to freeze Dayan Viciedo.
Next-up: Bud Norris
Now that Scherzer has a complete game, the current pitcher with the most career starts without one is Bud Norris of the Baltimore Orioles (139).