Max Scherzer is surging for the Detroit Tigers while Ricky Romero is searching for answers for the Toronto Blue Jays.
Two starters headed in opposite directions meet Tuesday night when these teams open a three-game set at Comerica Park.
Scherzer (12-6, 4.41 ERA) owns a lower ERA against the Blue Jays (56-65) than against any other opponent he has faced more than one time. He is 2-0 with a 1.67 ERA in four career outings against them with 24 strikeouts and six walks over 27 innings.
The right-hander struck out 10 in seven scoreless innings Wednesday to earn a 5-1 victory at Minnesota, improving to 6-1 with a 3.36 ERA in his last nine outings. Monday's break in the schedule gave him an extra day off after throwing 117 pitches.
"I needed to just fire myself up and just go after them and be aggressive with it," he said.
Also on Wednesday, Romero (8-10, 5.47) gave up six runs in six-plus innings during a 9-5 home loss to the White Sox to drop to 0-9 with a 7.45 ERA in his last 10 starts.
"It feels like I haven't got rewarded all year with anything that I do," Romero said.
The left-hander has posted a 6.55 ERA in losing his last four starts against the Tigers (64-57), including a 7-1 defeat two seasons ago in which he was outpitched badly by Scherzer. The Detroit starter struck out eight in eight innings while Romero gave up six runs and walked five over 5 2-3.
Romero has struggled with his control all year, walking 4.75 per nine innings to rank among the worst in baseball.
That's in stark contrast to how Scherzer leads the majors with a strikeout per nine inning ratio of 11.39. His 178 strikeouts are already within six of his career high, set two years ago in 55 more innings than he's thrown in 2012.
There are some Toronto hitters who have troubled Scherzer in the past in Yunel Escobar, who is 11 for 23 against him, and Edwin Encarnacion (4 for 12).
It's not surprising that one of the Detroit batters who has enjoyed success against Romero is Miguel Cabrera, who is 5 for 13 in their matchups. Cabrera has 104 RBIs and is battling Texas slugger Josh Hamilton for the major league lead.
Detroit is trying to gain ground in the AL Central and wild-card races after opening a nine-game homestand by dropping two of three to Baltimore over the weekend. The Tigers, who have lost four of five at Comerica Park since a 16-1 stretch there, blew an early five-run lead in Sunday's 7-5 defeat.
"We've got two more home series coming up, and we have to pick it up," left fielder Quintin Berry said.
A visit from the banged-up Blue Jays may provide a good opportunity, although Toronto could be getting some reinforcements.
Manager John Farrell told the team's official website that Brett Lawrie may return from the disabled list for this series, and Jose Bautista could be back in the lineup later on this nine-game road trip.
The Blue Jays are 5-15 since they last won a series when they took two of three at home against Detroit from July 27-29.
The Associated Press News Service
The Associated Press
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