Due to what is being called a deltoid strain, Max Scherzer has been scratched from his next scheduled start, Friday night in Minnesota. Rookie Drew Smyly will step into Scherzer's spot in the rotation.
Scherzer's status for the rest of the season is now in question. There is no structural damage to the shoulder, but Scherzer will likely not throw again until deemed healthy.
"It’s just tough to say. I want to be able to, but at the same time, when you have a recurring injury like this, you can’t go back on the mound until you’re 100 percent."
While speaking with the media before the final home game of the season, Scherzer admitted he had aggravated his shoulder in a side session. Scherzer also stated his arm had tightened up during his last start, a loss to the Twins last Sunday.
On September 18th, Scherzer was pulled 2 innings into his start against the Athletics with "right shoulder fatigue." After being re-evaluted, he was allowed to take his normal turn in the rotation. Scherzer allowed 3 runs in 5 innings, but there was an apparent loss in velocity, his fastball topping out in the low 90's. After the game, Jim Leyland admitted Scherzer was unable to cut loose with his bread and butter pitch.
Losing Scherzer would be a major blow to the Tigers' post season chances. The 5 year veteran has been one of the best pitchers in baseball since May, posting a 15-4 record and 3.22 ERA, and 8-2, 2.81 since the All-Star break. Scherzer is 2nd in the majors in strikeouts at 228 and leads all of baseball in strikeouts per 9 innings pitched at 11.17. Smyly is 4-3 with a 4.24 ERA in 21 appearances, 17 of those starts.