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Detroit’s road game with Cleveland on Thursday should be a very special day in the Max Scherzer household, as the Tigers right-hander throws what is likely to be his 1,000th strikeout in the majors. The 29-year-old, pitching into his fourth season at Tiger Stadium, reached a career 999 Ks on Monday during the Tigers’ 3-2 win over the White Sox, pushing him to 16 wins for the season.


Photo by Keith Allision, used under creative commons license.

 

There’s no doubt Scherzer is the pick of Jim Leyland’s starting rotation alongside Justin Verlander and, with the righty in this sort of form, fans betting MLB World Series are rightly backing Detroit for the playoffs. His 16-1 record is unbeaten in the league this season and there should be more to come from Scherzer on Thursday night.

Not only can he claim a milestone strikeout but his game can also go a long way to propelling Detroit into automatic playoff contention. As of Tuesday, the Tigers are 3.0 games ahead of Cleveland and riding on an eight-game win streak. This series therefore has huge ramifications for how the AL Central teams will stack come late September and Leyland is right to start Scherzer in the opening encounter.

His recent stats are simply bewildering: three wins and 18 Ks from just 21.2 innings, including a 0.83 ERA, speaks for itself. Against Cleveland, he has a winning record (7-4) and almost a strikeout per inning (86 in 86.1). That kind of form is near impossible to combat and Zach McAlister, the Indians’ 4-6 righty, is unlikely to stop the Scherzer juggernaut. If you’re looking for a safe bet at competitive MLB betting odds this week then Thursday’s series opener is the game to back Detroit.

Scherzer is just too good on the mound and shows no sign of letting up, a compliment also attributed to this resurgent Tigers team.