This folks, is the game of the weekend.Â Two stud pitchers facing off with their teams a half-game apart in the fight for the playoffs.Â Max Scherzer (16-5, 3.26) faces James Shields (14-7, 3.15).
Both pitchers have a lengthy history against their foes.Â Scherzer is 10-5 with a 3.74 ERA in 20 career starts against Kansas City while Shields has a 7-5 record and a 4.11 ERA in 18 starts against Deroit.
Scherzer limps into the matchup a bit, as he is 2-1 with a 4.46 ERA in his lastsix starts while Shields is on a roll, with a 3-1 record and 2.57 ERA in his last six appearances.
Three Royals have hit multiple homers in their careers against Scherzer.Â Alex Gordon leads the way with three homers and a .389 average, while Sal Perez has a pair to go along with a 1.024 OPS in 27 PA.Â Josh Willingham has a pair of round trippers in 22 AB.Â In their own ways all three are struggling, as GordonÂ (6-23) and Perez (5-24) are slumping a pit and Willingham’s power has been sapped of late.
Scherzer also has good success in his career against Eric Hosmer (.206 average), Lorenzo Cain (0-15) and Billy Butler (no homers in 54 AB).
Rajai Davis (.111) and Ian Kinsler (.208) are the only Tigers who really struggle against Shields, and Davis may not even play.Â Many Tigers have had decent histories when facing Shields.Â Alex Avila is hitting .300 with a pair of homers, and J.D. Martinez has one of his own to go with a .333 average in 15 AB.Â Victor Martinez is at .295 and Torii Hunter .322 (though neither has hit for power).Â Â Miguel Cabrera has a .365 average, two homers and a career 1.056 OPS against Shields and comes into the matchup on a roll in September, with a .469 average, 1.351 OPS and six homers in 64 at bats.
Normally when a hot hitter faces a hot pitcher I go with the pitcher, but Cabrera’s the kind of hitter that can carry a team for weeks. Â Given his history against Shields and his current hot hitting, I’m going with the Tigers in this one.