Originally posted on Fox Sports Detroit
By STEVE KORNACKI  |  Last updated 9/20/13
DETROIT - 20 wins. Its quite a calling card for a pitcher. And on Friday night, Detroit Tigers right-hander Max Scherzer became a card-carrying member of the club. Scherzer beat the Chicago White Sox, 12-5, to push his record to 20-3 after failing to reach the magic number in his last four starts. He leads the majors in victories, and became just the eighth Tigers pitcher in the last 50 years to win 20 games. Justin Verlander (24-5, 2011) and Bill Gullickson (20-9, 1991) are the only Tigers to win 20 in the last quarter-century, and the others to reach that total since 1962 are Denny McLain, Earl Wilson, Mickey Lolich, Joe Coleman and Jack Morris. Thats pretty select company. Scherzer has branded himself as special in a season in which he started the All-Star Game and became only the third pitcher to be 19-1 after 20 decisions, joining Roger Clemens and Hall of Famer Rube Marquard. While the Tiger bats cooled off considerably in Scherzers last three starts to produce a total of five runs, this game was more typical of his season. He entered the game leading all AL pitchers with 6.7 runs per nine innings. Torii Hunter went 4-for-5 to drive in three runs and push his average to .299. Knocking in a pair apiece were Prince Fielder (105 RBIs), Andy Dirks (three hits) and Victor Martinez (13th homer). However, while Scherzer has been given enough offense to win, hes also given his team a very good chance to win in all but seven starts. This was his 24th quality start. Former Tiger outfielder Avisail Garcia pulled a two-run homer high and deep in the fourth inning for the only significant damage. Scherzer went six innings on a warm, rainy evening, allowing three runs on six hits while striking out a season-low three batters. Scherzer pushed his strikeout total to 230 just one shy of his career-high in 2012 and trails only Texas Rangers ace Yu Darvish (260) in that category in the majors. His earned run average of 3.00 ranks fifth in the AL, where teammate and Sunday starter Anibal Sanchez leads at 2.51. So, his Cy Young Award credentials are definitely in order. Scherzer has been the definition of what Tigers manager Jim Leyland calls a horse a pitcher who piles up innings (207 13) as well as wins and strikeouts. Detroit with its magic number now three with eight games to play has plenty of aces up its sleeve. And Scherzer is dealing better than anyone as a card-carrying member of the 20-win club.
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