The Detroit Tigers and New York Mets technically met before their weekend series started on Aug. 23. The Tigers and Mets first had their aces face off in Citi Field during the All-Star Game, at least during the first inning. But when Max Scherzer and Matt Harvey had a more extended showdown on Aug. 24, Scherzer won on both the mound and the plate in a 3-0 Tigers victory.
Not only did Scherzer go to 19-1 for the season, he got the ball rolling for the Tigers on offense as well. His RBI double off of Harvey in the second was the first run of the game, and would go on to become the winning run as well. Scherzer helped make sure of that by pitching six innings of shutout three-hit ball, in spite of being pushed to 118 pitches and four walks.
Yet his 11 strikeouts helped hold back any Mets threats, with the bullpen pitching three innings of no-hit ball after that. On the other hand, Harvey gave up 13 hits in 6 2-3 innings, dropping to 9-5 on the season.
While Harvey has come to earth a bit after his All-Star Game start, Scherzer has just kept on winning, as have the Tigers. Detroit’s ace became the third pitcher of all time to start a season 19-1, joining Roger Clemens from 2001 and Rube Marquard from 1912. As for his team, the Tigers remained ahead for the best record in the American League, in a race where the Tampa Bay Rays, Texas Rangers and Boston Red Sox are only separated from them by one game.
Scherzer’s race is against history at this point, just as much as Miguel Cabrera’s race for a second straight Triple Crown is. But as a byproduct, the Tigers are marching closer to another run at an overdue World Series crown as well.