How Detroit Tigers fate rests with Max Scherzer and Rick Porcello
But having pointed to those factors, the White Sox are still just a 12-12 team, like the Tigers. The Cleveland Indians have played pretty good baseball to start this season, but are only two games above .500. Last year, the Indians got out to a 30-15 beginning and then gradually faded. I like the way the Indians approach the game, but I see the White Sox as the bigger threat to the Tigers in the American League Central because of their starting pitching.
It's still the key element of the game. It's the part that could determine whether the Tigers run away with the AL Central again or get into a fight.
That's where Max Scherzer and Rick Porcello come in. They are at a stage when development is supposed to end and consistency be the result. Yet, Porcello's performance still goes up and down like yo-yo. Scherzer did get squeezed by umpire Rob Drake in New York last weekend, but, still, that was not a good start, and his lack of command has sent up a red flag. Thirteen walks in a 24 innings is too much. He falls behind the count a lot. Hitter's have been taking advantage. His WHIP is over two.Saturday's start, Gavin Floyd vs.Scherzer, will be a fascinating one. Floyd has given the Tigers a lot of problems (7-2, 3.48 ERA in career, six shutout innings in his first start against Detroit this year). Can Scherzer match him? What about Porcello Sunday against hard-throwing Aaron Sale?
It will be back-to-back Scherzer and Porcello starts against what will probably the Tigers biggest threat in the division. Will they start to perform with some level of consistency? If they don't, winning the division is still probable, but could be more difficult of a journey than had been anticipated.