It's hard to pitch better than Max Scherzer has his last two times out. Wade Davis has come awfully close.
Unfortunately for Scherzer, the Tigers' right-hander has nothing to show for his recent efforts. Scherzer's numbers reflect the unpredictability of baseball. He earned a victory in his first start of the year, when he allowed four runs in five innings. Over his last two outings, he has yielded only two earned runs in 14 innings while tallying 23 strikeouts. He didn't factor into the decision in either game.
"I was able to start getting all three pitches to work," Scherzer said after limiting Seattle to one run over eight innings on Wednesday. "Fastball, slider, changeup, I was able to start throwing them for strikes and then start moving them out of the zone. That gave [catcher Brayan] Pena some flexibility to get creative in the pitch-calling. He did a great job back there, what pitch to throw in what situation. We got in a good rhythm, a good roll and I was able to put together a good outing to keep us competitive in that game."
In Tuesday's series opener at Comerica Park, Scherzer and Davis will square off in a matchup of flourishing right-handers. In 13 career outings against Kansas City, Scherzer is 6-4 with a 3.48 ERA.
Davis has not allowed a run in either of his last two starts, spanning 12 innings. He earned wins against both the Twins and Braves, as he held Atlanta's high-powered offense in check over seven innings on Wednesday to snap the Braves' 10-game win streak.
"I came out with my big goal to get ahead," Davis said. "I know they have a pretty good offense, so I had to mix it up a lot and minimize my mistakes and keep them off the plate."
Royals: Starters going deep
Kansas City's starting rotation has worked a minimum of six innings in each of the last seven games and into the seventh frame in six of the last eight. In the 17 games to this point, Kansas City starters have worked at least six innings on 14 occasions. Overall, the Royals have had six games in which the starter has gotten through seven innings.
• Luis Mendoza will start Wednesday's game in Detroit, the right-hander's first outing since April 12. A confluence of off-days and postponements allowed the Royals to skip Mendoza in the last turn through the rotation. In two starts this season, Mendoza is 0-1 with a 6.17 ERA.
Tigers: Santiago held out
The Tigers held infielder Ramon Santiago out of Sunday's contest after he was hospitalized Saturday with dehydration symptoms. Santiago, who has two hits in 19 at-bats this season, received two bags of intravenous fluids after being transported to a medical facility when he reported stomach issues.
• Jose Valverde tossed his second scoreless inning for Class A Lakeland in as many days on Saturday. The right-hander could progress through the Tigers farm system or advance to the big league club as soon as this week. He has a May 8 opt-out clause in his Minor League contract.
• Royals righty Ervin Santana tossed his third consecutive quality start in the first game of Sunday's twin bill in Boston. He only constructed two such stretches all of last season.
• Tigers first baseman Prince Fielder snapped a five-game stretch without an RBI when he tallied two RBIs on Sunday. Prior to the mini-drought, he had recorded 18 RBIs over a nine-game span.