For Detroit's Max Scherzer, that's a positive. For Toronto's Ricky Romero, it's not so good.
No pitcher in the Majors can match Scherzer's 11.4 strikeouts-per-nine-innings rate, and only teammate Justin Verlander can top him in total K's, 180 to 178. Romero has something no other American League hurler can match, but in his case, it's a nine-game losing streak. The lefty hasn't notched a win since June 22, a 10-start span in which he holds a 7.45 ERA.
Scherzer and Romero will clash in the first of a three-game set. The Tigers, 1-2 to start their nine-game homestand, are in the thick of the race in both the AL Central and Wild Card. The last-place Blue Jays start their nine-game road trip carrying a 5-16 August record.
Scherzer comes in 12-6 with a 4.41 ERA, including 7-2 with a 3.07 ERA and 90-to-21 strikeouts-to-walks ratio over his past 11 outings. The right-hander has notched at least eight punchouts in six straight starts -- including Wednesday at Minnesota, when he collected 10 over seven scoreless innings. Scherzer walked two in a 27-pitch second inning, but struck out the last three and cruised from there.
"Once I fired myself up and put the adrenaline in and started letting the fastball eat, that's when I got back in the zone and was able to collect some big strikeouts in that situation," Scherzer said. "From then on, I was able to stay in the zone."
Not much has gone right for Romero, who is 8-10 with a 5.47 ERA after going 15-11 with a 2.92 mark in 2011. His hits-per-nine-innings rate has increased by two, and his next walk will match his total for all of last season.
The frustration continued on Wednesday against the White Sox, with Romero surrendering six runs on eight hits over six innings. He walked two and struck out five.
"It feels like I haven't gotten rewarded all year with anything that I do," Romero said. "I'm feeling good. I've had great weeks of workouts and bullpen sessions, and I'm right where I want to be."
Blue Jays: Torrealba set to join team in Detroit
With J.P. Arencibia injured for almost the past month, the Blue Jays made Jeff Mathis their primary catcher and Yan Gomes their backup. That figures to change on Tuesday, when Toronto plans to add veteran backstop Yorvit Torrealba to its active roster.
The 34-year-old posted a .236 average and .643 OPS in 49 games for the Rangers this season. Texas released him, and Toronto signed him to a Minor League deal on Aug. 14. Torrealba played his fourth game for Double-A New Hampshire on Sunday.
Torrealba and Mathis will split the catching duties going forward.
Torrealba's batterymate for New Hampshire on Sunday was right-hander Brandon Morrow, who was making his last rehab start. He is scheduled to be activated to start either Friday or Saturday in Baltimore.
Tigers: Peralta brings spark to No. 5 spot
When Jhonny Peralta slammed a three-run homer in the first inning of Sunday's game against the Orioles, it provided something the Tigers haven't seen much: offense out of the fifth spot in the lineup. Detroit's No. 5 hitters started the day with a .643 OPS, lower than any other lineup position except ninth.
Delmon Young has accounted for 95 of the 121 starts there. Lately, manager Jim Leyland has turned to Alex Avila or Brennan Boesch against right-handers, but has called on Peralta in two straight contests against lefties. The Tigers are also set to face southpaws in all three games against the Blue Jays.
"For me, it's not pressure," said Peralta, who went 1-for-4 on both Saturday and Sunday from the five-hole. "I don't care where I'm hitting. I've been [there] before -- four, five, third in the lineup. So for me, it's no pressure. I already know the game. It's a lot of [RBI] chances. Sometimes you [come through], sometimes not. But it's not pressure."
The Blue Jays, over .500 at Rogers Centre, are 25-35 on the road. They took two of three from the Tigers in Toronto in late July.
Scherzer hasn't faced the Blue Jays this season, but posted a 1.83 ERA in three starts against them last season -- with 16 strikeouts in 19 innings.
This will be Romero's first appearance against the Tigers this season, and first at Comerica Park since 2010.