Originally posted on Baseball Professor  |  Last updated 4/18/13
Last night, Max Scherzer and Felix Hernandez dueled it out in what turned out to be an epic pitching battle where there were a combined 16 IP, 10 H, 1 ER, 24 K/1 BB. We already knew Hernandez was capable of greatness, but Scherzer has always been held back by his control and home run issues.However, so far this year he has a 40.0 K% (career high) and 5.3 BB% (career low) and despite a .385 BABIP he has still managed a 2.84 ERA and 1.05 WHIP. It has definitely been a great start for him, especially in terms of control, but will it continue?According to his Pitchf/x data, there’s no drastic change to his repertoire and his first-strike percentage (62.7%) is right around his career rate of 61.0%. Even his overall strike percentage (67.5%) is around his career rate of 64.5%. I’m not saying I don’t believe in his improved control, just not to this extent. Then again, with his strikeout potential he doesn’t need much improvement in this field to be a top-20, or even top-15, pitcher.4/17 RecapWade Davis stepped up and completely shut down the hottest team in baseball — 7 IP, 5 H, 0 ER, 7 K/0 BB. According to Pitchf/x data from Brooks Baseball, it shows that he has increased the use of his cutter and slider starting last year. Of course, last year he spent all his time in the bullpen, but maybe the new approach will continue to translate well as a starter as well?Joaquin Benoit got the call in the 14th inning last night and did absolutely nothing to solidify himself as the Tigers’ sole ninth-inning option. He allowed two hits and was saved by a play at the plate that ended the game rather than prolonged it.If you’re scrambling at shortstop and missed out on Jed Lowrie already, you might want to grab Zack Cozart. In his last five games he is 9-for-22 (.409) with 2 HR and 3 RBI. He offers decent power for a shortstop and it’s best to cash in during these hot streaks.Looking AheadThere have been a ridiculous amount of postponed games so far in April so make sure you double check those weather reports!Thursday’s Probable PitchersJustin Verlander (DET) @ Hisashi Iwakuma (SEA) — You always start Iwakuma at home no matter who he’s facing.Jon Lester (BOS) @ Zach McAllister (CLE) — Lester looks to have regain at least some of his ace status after a very disappointing 2012 season.David Price (TB) @ Miguel Gonzalez (BAL) — Gonzalez is a sneaky solid option and the Rays offense is far from intimidating.Patrick Corbin (ARI) @ Phil Hughes (NYY) — Both pitchers have decent upside, but not in this matchupChris Sale (CHW) @ R.A. Dickey (TOR) — I like Sale in this matchup, but Dickey worries me a bit. He has only had one good start (vs. Kansas City) and is returning back home (where he has struggled) and is facing a lineup that loves to mash homers.Matt Cain (SF) @ Yovani Gallardo (MIL) — Gallardo is a notorious slow-starter so you wouldn’t be crazy to sit him unless you were desperate for strikeouts.Alexi Ogando (TEX) @ Carlos Villanueva (CHC) — Good matchup for Ogando, but Villanueva won’t face many offenses better than Texas.Jonathan Niese (NYM) @ Jon Garland (COL) — I think Niese is a solid bet for a quality start and his ground ball tendencies will hopefully negate the effects of Coors Field.Adam Wainwright (STL) @ Cole Hamels (PHI) — Do you really need advice on what to do with these two?Julio Teheran (ATL) @ Jeff Locke (PIT) — If you still own Teheran then you have the patience of a saint, if he falters here you need to let him go. I’m not starting him, but am willing to wait.Jose Fernandez (MIA) @ Tony Cingrani (CIN) — What an exciting matchup! This could be foreshadowing for the 2016 Cy Young Award. 
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