Maz Scherzer improved every season with the Detroit Tigers culminating with 2013’s Cy Young campaign. That season, he became the first Tiger pitcher to start the season 12-0 en route to 21 wins. Although he topped 200 innings. Scherzer failed to complete a game. However, this made little difference considering how the game evolved by the 21st century. As a result of his historic season, Scherzer became the second Tiger in three seasons to claim the Cy Young Award.
Right handed pitcher Max Scherzer broke into the Major Leagues in 2008. He spent two seasons in Arizona before being traded to Detroit. After a 9-15 Diamondbacks career, Scherzer compiled a 43-27 record in his first three Tiger seasons. In 96 starts, Scherzer pitched 578.1 innings, struck out 589, walked 189, and posted a 3.89 ERA. In 2012, the righty finished 16-7 with a 3.74 ERA, 1.274 WHIP, and 231 strikeouts in 187.2 innings. By this point, Scherzer started 133 games in five seasons, but failed to complete a single game. By the second decade of the 21st century, teams did not expect starters to finish their starts. They hoped to get six innings before turning the game over to the bullpen. Scherzer did not complete a game until 2014. His Cy Young victory in 2013 marked the acceptance of this change within the game.
Scherzer’s April did not forecast his season in general. Although he started the season 3-0 in five starts that month, his ERA topped four at the beginning of May. On April 17, he struck out 12 Mariners in a no-decision. That marked his season high, which he tied in a no decision against Kansas City on September 15. Scherzer reached double digit strikeouts three times in April and eight times overall in 2013. He finished the year with 240.
The Tiger righty continued the strikeout pace with 45 in 45 May innings. His high for the month topped out at ten on May 31 against Baltimore. Overall, Scherzer won four of six starts for the month. He defeated Houston, Minnesota, and Cleveland twice. He earned no decisions in two starts.
Scherzer entered June with a 7-0 record. By month’s end, Scherzer broke the Tiger record for consecutive wins to start a season. George Mullin went 11-0 in 1909. Scherzer’s 5-0 June allowed the right-hander to begin 12-0. He defeated all five opponents that month, pitched 34 innings, and struck out 40. On July 3, Scherzer defeated the Blue Jays to begin 13-0. It was the first 13-0 start since Roger Clemens in 1986. The Texas Rangers broke the steak on July 13.
The Tiger ace entered the All Star break with a 13-1 record, 3.19 ERA, 0.98 WHIP, and 152 strikeouts. For his efforts, Scherzer started the All Star Game for the American League. He retired the National League in order and recorded a strikeout. The American League won the game 3-1, but Scherzer received a no decision.
Victories continued to pile up for the Tiger in the second half of the season. He won his final two starts of July. On July 27, Scherzer allowed one hit in six innings against the Phillies. He posted a 4-0 record in August. With his victory against the Mets, he became the third pitcher to start the season 19-1. Only Roger Clemens in 2001 and Rube Marquard in 1912 accomplished the feat.
Scherzer entered September with his historic 19-1 record. However, he struggled to earn his 20th victory. He lost back-to-back starts against the Red Sox and White Sox in early September. The Royals hung a no decision on Scherzer despite 12 strikeouts on September 15. Finally, the pitcher defeated the White Sox on the 20th for his 20th. In his final start, Scherzer allowed two hits, no runs, and struck out 10 Twins to cap his regular season.
The Central Division Champion Tigers downed the A’s in the first round of the playoffs. In his October 4 start, he allowed two runs in seven innings and whiffed 11 Oakland batters. He came out of the bullpen to earn the victory in Game 4. Oakland actually had Detroit beaten, but blew the series.
Scherzer defeated Oakland twice in the first round as the Tigers advanced to the ALCS. In Game Two, he topped himself. Scherzer no-hit the Red Sox for 5.2 innings and left with a 5-1 lead after striking out 13. Somehow, the Sox managed to blow the Detroit bullpen out of Beantown to win the game. Scherzer returned for Game 6 with the Tigers down 3-2 in the series. The Red Sox proved a team of destiny. They defeated Scherzer and went on to win the World Series against a really good Cardinal team.
Detroit’s unceremonious exit from the ALCS did not diminish Scherzer’s season. He became the first pitcher since Clemens to start 13-0 and the third hurler to ever begin 19-1. Overall, Scherzer posted a 21-3 record in 32 starts, allowed just 152 hits in 214.1 innings while striking out 240, and walked only 56. The right-hander led the league in wins, win percentage (.875) and WHIP (0.970). For his effort, he received 28 of 30 first place votes to walk away with the Cy Young Award.