Detroit Tigers manager Jim Leyland wasn't happy when asked about his All-Star pitcher Max Scherzer’s high run support as being the main factor in the right-hander’s breakout season.
Scherzer leads the league in wins with 19 and WHIP at 0.94. He’s second to Yu Darvish with 209 strikeouts and second in ERA to his teammate Anibal Sanchez at 2.88.
While it’s important to note that Scherzer also has the highest run support right in professional baseball at 5.79 runs per game, taking a look at his game logs quickly proves that his season has been about him than merely the Tigers’ offense.
One was his first start of the season in which he surrendered four earned runs in five innings, yet his team won the game 8-4. The second came three starts later, when he earned a win after giving up five runs in five innings of a Tigers 7-5 win.
Leyland said that his view of a pitcher’s stats goes beyond actual numbers but instead looks at if that pitcher gave his team a chance to win.
Scherzer has notched a quality start in 23 of his 28 starts. According to Leyland, that is certainly giving his team a chance to win, and for the most part, the Tigers have won in Scherzer’s starts.
Leyland continued that Scherzer’s run support has nothing to do with the way he pitches.
Of course, all pitchers would love if there their goes out and scores six runs a game every time he pitches. Many pitchers have come to realize that won't happen, but Scherzer has been the lucky beneficiary of that support. When he receives the support, he shuts down his opponents, which has led to his 19 wins.
I doubt Scherzer’s run support will play a huge role in this season’s Cy Young voting. Darvish will certainly be in the mix, as well as Sanchez, Bartolo Colon and Hisashi Iwakuma. Sanchez has received 5.29 runs per game, so I guess it’s just a good time to be a Tigers pitcher.
It would be erroneous to think that the only reason Scherzer has been having a dominant year is because of his team’s offense. Just look at the ERA and WHIP and you’ll see that’s not the case.
He’ll have a few more chances to eclipse the hallowed 20-win plateau, and while the run support has been helpful, it will be Scherzer himself who dictates how he pitches, especially in the postseason.
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