Many readers reading this title may be scratching their heads saying, “Duh!” However, there are those on the opposite side of the fence who believe that pitcher Max Scherzer should start. Yes, Scherzer has earned it in their eyes. Apparently he’s the new sheriff in Tigers town. Plain and simple: this is Justin Verlander‘s team.
Verlander is the leader of the pack. He’s the alpha male. He’s the pitcher you roll with as many times as possible. He’s the stud of the staff. Scherzer’s the 2013 Cy Young winner, coming off of a stellar season, finishing with a 21-3 record, boasting a 2.90 ERA. He had a remarkable run last season and the season before that; Verlander still reigns supreme.
Scherzer cannot be ahead of the pack now just because he’s had two great seasons. Verlander has been more consistent for far longer. Scherzer has yet to pitch a full game in his career while Verlander has given the Tigers many. Scherzer has a higher ERA in the postseason than Verlander. Scherzer was very inconsistent, and still can be. The Tigers need to start their season off right; Verlander needs to be on the mound.
Go ahead, roast Verlander for the terrible rookie-like season he had last year. He was bad, but when it mattered the most in the postseason, he lit it up. Verlander pounded the strike zone with ease, hoisting an astounding 0.39 ERA to Scherzer’s 2.82. Verlander also pitched more innings in the 2013 postseason than Scherzer. Saying that Verlander isn’t the ace of the Tigers is foolish.
For as off as Verlander was in 2013, he still managed to keep a respectable 3.46 ERA. All pitchers have their faulty moments, but overall Verlander’s been a stud. Career-wise he even has a better ERA than Scherzer. He’s a more reliable pitcher with a heck of a lot more stamina. Verlander will sling the ball to 100 miles per hour in the 9th inning; Scherzer can barely last eight.
Scherzer could be the ace on another staff, just not on Detroit. The Tigers may not say it, but they’re hesitant to give Scherzer a huge contract. It goes beyond just not wanting to strand their financial flexibility; they know he can tumble at any moment. Verlander is established and respected.
When it came down to it the past two years, Verlander was the go-to man. When the Tigers faced the Oakland Athletics in game fives in back-to-back seasons at the hostile Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum, Verlander answered the bell and pitched dominantly, silencing thousands of crazed fans. It’s not knocking Scherzer or anyone else — as everyone contributed to Detroit’s success — but Verlander handles the biggest moments.
Scherzer’s a wonderful competitor. The Tigers have one of the best starting staffs in baseball because he’s on it. He very well could be the ace of another staff with his power arm and heated arsenal. Scherzer gives Detroit more pack to their punch, but Verlander is the majority of the punch itself.
The Tigers need to start Opening Day the right way. Scherzer had a nice run the past two years, earning much recognition. He’s still second to Verlander. Verlander is Detroit’s ace; he needs to pitch for the Tigers in the season opener.