Detroit Tigers (63-50) at Toronto Blue Jays (61-56)
Time/Place: 1:07 p.m., Rogers Centre
SB Nation blog: Bluebird Banter
Pitching Matchup: Max Scherzer, RHP (13- 4, 3.24 ERA) vs. Marcus Stroman, RHP (7- 3, 3.49 ERA)
Marcus Stroman made his major league debut for the Blue Jays in May of this year, making five appearances out of the bullpen. He was then moved into the starting rotation on May 31. He has not disappointed, allowing three runs or less in ten of his twelve starts, keeping teams scoreless three times.
The 23 year old rookie right- hander was the first baseball player out of Duke University to be drafted in the first round. He stands just five foot, nine inches tall, which is very small for a pitcher, and features a five pitch repertoire that includes a mid 90's fastball and a slider that he likes to throw with two strikes. He has good stuff, according to this scouting report from Baseball America.
Stroman doesn't walk many batters, and he keeps the ball in the yard very well, so it will take several hits, or driving the ball into the gaps and some good base running to get to him.
Max Scherzer has put together three straight, and six of seven starts where he has gone seven innings or better, allowing three runs or fewer each time. He took the loss in his last start at New York, allowing just two runs on nine hits.
Scherzer has maintained a steady strikeout rate of just over ten per nine innings, while his BB/9 and HR/9 ratios are up slightly. The biggest difference between this season and his 2013 year is that he has a batting average on balls in play (BABIP) of .319 versus .259 a season ago. He remains one of the most dominant pitchers in the game.
Hitter to fear: Jose Bautista is 8 for 13 with a home run and three walks, for a sizzling line of .571 .647 1.071 1.718 in his career.
Hitter to fail: Melky Cabrera is 3 for 12, with a line of .250 .308 .417 .724.
The Jays swept the Tigers earlier this season in Detroit, when the Tigers were in the midst of a team wide slump. The Tigers have not seen Stroman before, and that usually gives an advantage to the pitcher. But then, the Jays can see Scherzer as much as they want, and that doesn't mean they can hit him.
Friday's come from behind Tiger victory knocked the Jays to 1-1/2 games behind the Royals for the second and final wild card playoff spot, one game behind the Yankees and six games behind the Baltimore Orioles in their division.
Tigers struggle against a rookie that they've never seen before, but Scherzer dominates the Jays. One good inning is enough to give the Tigers their margin of victory.