Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports
Max Scherzer struck out nine in seven innings to improve to 12-0 this season.Max Scherzer remained unbeaten and Miguel Cabrera's bat remained hot to help the Detroit Tigers snap a three-game skid against the Tampa Bay Rays on Friday.
Scherzer struck out nine in seven innings, earning the win to move to 12-0 this season. He's the first starting pitcher in Tigers history to start a season 12-0, and the fifth pitcher in MLB history to go undefeated through his first 16 starts with at least 10 wins (the last was Ron Guidry in 1978).
Best Undefeated Start to a Season
By SP in Live Ball Era (Since 1920)
It's the best undefeated start to a season by any starter since Roger Clemens in 1986, the year he won the MVP and Cy Young awards with the Red Sox.
And according to the Elias Sports Bureau, Scherzer is the first pitcher in MLB history to go undefeated in his first 16 starts of a season while compiling at least 120 strikeouts (Scherzer has 131).
Scherzer posted his second-highest swing-and-miss rate of the season (36.5 percent) against the Rays, and much of it was due to his changeup. He struck out four with his changeup Friday -- all swinging -- his most strikeouts with the pitch in a start since April 29.
While Scherzer got it done on the mound, Cabrera continued his torrid pace at the plate.
Cabrera went 4-for-4, hitting a pair of home runs, and extended his hit streak to a season-high 13 games. It’s the third time he’s gone 4-for-4 with multiple home runs this season, the first player in the modern era (since 1900) to accomplish the feat, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
The multi-home run game was his 19th since joining the Tigers in 2008; only Albert Pujols (26) has more in that span. Both home runs came on sliders, giving Cabrera seven this season on the pitch, tied with Baltimore’s Chris Davis for the MLB lead.
Cabrera also upped his RBI total to 81 in Detroit’s 78th game, becoming the third player in the past 10 years with at least 80 RBI in the team's first 80 games (Carlos Delgado, 2003; Alex Rodriguez, 2007).
Games Started By Max Scherzer
Miguel Cabrera This Season
And there's been a bit of synergy for Cabrera at the plate when Scherzer has started.
In the 16 games started by Scherzer this season, Cabrera has a hit in 15 of them and is batting .500 with eight home runs in those games. Cabrera's been even more locked in during Scherzer's June starts, batting .706 in the five games.