Game 78 Preview: Tigers at Rays

USA TODAY Sports

Max Scherzer will continue his undefeated season tonight against the Tampa Bay Rays. Rookie right-hander Alex Colome will start for the Rays.

Detroit Tigers (42-35) at Tampa Bay Rays (41-38)

Time/Place: 7:10 p.m., Tropicana Field

SB Nation blog: DRaysBay

Media: Fox Sports Detroit, MLB.TV, Tigers Radio Network

Pitching Matchup: RHP Max Scherzer (11-0, 3.05 ERA) vs. RHP Alex Colome (1-0, 0.00 ERA)

Colome is a 24 year old Dominican right-hander who has made two starts in the majors this season, allowing four unearned runs in 10 innings. He only lasted 4 1/3 innings against the New York Yankees in his last start largely thanks to five walks. The command issues are nothing new, however. He is walking 3.71 batters per nine innings in the minors -- and that is the lowest rate of his career. Regardless, Joe Maddon decided to keep his rotation intact this weekend instead of skipping Colome over yesterday's off-day.

Along with the walks, general inefficiency has plagued Colome since his first big league call-up. In four minor league starts, he only pitched into the fifth inning one time and his ERA was 4.70. This is a huge difference from his first two months in Triple-A when he averaged nearly 5 2/3 innings per start with a 2.60 ERA. He still walked 3.6 batters per nine innings during that stretch, but only allowed 46 hits in 55 1/3 innings.

Meanwhile, Scherzer continues to dominate in a fashion we haven't seen since a pitcher won the AL MVP. I'm not saying that Max is setting himself up for more than a Cy Young candidacy, but his overall numbers are staggering at this point. The record gets all the publicity, but his 0.910 WHIP and 5.08 strikeout-to-walk ratio rank third and sixth in all of baseball, respectively. His 2.66 SIERA is second to only Yu Darvish.

Wil Myers has arrived

While the power is very, very real, Myers has struck out in 24% of his minor league plate appearances over the past two seasons. If Max avoids hanging fastballs up in the zone like poor Esmil Rogers did in the clip above, he should be successful against the 22 year old phenom.

Outlook

Scherzer dominated the Rays when he faced them at the beginning of June, picking up his eighth win of the season. Teams have had mixed success against him the second time around in 2013, but I think Max's ridiculous road splits win out here. He is allowing a .429 OPS and 0.689 WHIP on the road this year with a strikeout-to-walk ratio of 6.00. As for the offense? It might not take many runs to win, but it would be nice to see them hang a few on Colome early in the game.

Prediction

Colome allows the first earned runs of his major league career tonight.

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