Justin Verlander has long been considered the ace of the Detroit Tigers staff, but Max Scherzer has a chance to reach a milestone that has eluded his Cy Young Award-winning teammate.
Scherzer can become the first starter in franchise history to open a season 10-0 when he takes the mound against the visiting Baltimore Orioles on Monday night. Scherzer can also become the first pitcher in the American League to reach 10 wins - he and Boston's Clay Buchholz are both 9-0.
Orioles third baseman Manny Machado will not turn 21 until next month, but he's playing with a presence that belies his age. Machado will carry a career-high 14-game hitting streak into the series and has five consecutive multiple-hit games that boosted his batting average to .327. He also leads the majors in hits (99) and doubles (32). Chris Davis is supplying both power and average, with a major league-high 23 homers and a .335 average.
TV: 7:08 p.m. ET, MASN2 (Baltimore), Fox Sports Detroit
PITCHING MATCHUP: Orioles RH Jake Arrieta (1-1, 6.63 ERA) vs. Tigers RH Max Scherzer (9-0, 3.19)
Arrieta, who was called up Friday from Triple-A Indianapolis, will start in place of an ailing Jason Hammel (illness). He has not pitched since June 9 with Indianapolis and failed to go past five innings in four April starts before being sent down to the minors. Baltimore's opening day starter a year ago, Arrieta is 1-0 with a 1.46 ERA in two career starts against the Tigers.
Scherzer continued his stellar campaign by limiting Kansas City to two runs on three hits in seven innings last time out. He has been overpowering in his last five starts, posting a 4-0 record while allowing a mere eight runs and 15 hits in 36 innings. Scherzer faced the Orioles on May 31 and did not factor in the decision, giving up three runs and three hits while striking out 10 in eight innings.
1. Scherzer has not allowed more than five hits in eight consecutive starts.
2. Orioles CF Adam Jones is 8-for-15 with a homer and two doubles against Scherzer.
3. Baltimore took two of three from Detroit earlier this season in a series that featured 13 home runs.