Originally posted on Fox Sports Detroit  |  Last updated 6/17/13
Detroit -- When you have to go back 104 years to figure out the last time someone did something in a Tigers uniform, you know it's a special accomplishment. Max Scherzer has been incredibly special on a consistent basis this season and Monday night against the hot-hitting Baltimore Orioles was no different. Chris Davis' solo home run leading off the second inning was the only run the Orioles got as the Tigers won, 5-1. Scherzer improved to 10-0 with a 3.08 ERA, the first Tigers pitcher to start 10-0 since George Mullin opened the season 11-0 in 1909, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. "It's nice to be 10-0, I'm not going to lie," Scherzer said. "It just also shows how good of an offense we have. The win-loss record is a fluky stat at times, especially when you're on a good offensive team like I am. "But at the end of the day, I judge myself not necessarily on record but how I pitch. Right now I'm pitching well, based on other things besides win-loss record." Scherzer is also the first pitcher to start 10-0, with all decisions coming in starts, since Roger Clemens started 11-0 for the Toronto Blue Jays in 1997, according to STATS LLC. Clemens won the AL Cy Young award that year, going 21-7 with a 2.05 ERA and 1.03 WHIP. Clemens is not the only big name Scherzer is being lumped with these days. Scherzer struck out 10 Monday, becoming the second pitcher in AL history to record six or more strikeouts in 14 consecutive starts to begin the season. The other one? Boston's Pedro Martinez, who did it in 14 straight in 2001, 15 straight in 1999 and an AL record 29 straight in 2000. "That tickles me when you say those type of names," Scherzer said. Scherzer wasn't even at his best Monday night, despite the 10 strikeouts. But he was at his best when he needed to be. When Scherzer needed to be was in the fifth inning, when the game was still 3-1. Ryan Flaherty walked and Nate McLouth singled to start the inning. Scherzer got Manny Machado to strike out. But then Nick Markakis was ahead in the count 3-1. "I know he's a great fastball hitter," Scherzer said. "I just had thrown a change up, 2-1 change-up, a good one and he was able to take it and make it 3-1. "I was backed into a corner. I was going to throw a fastball but (Brayan) Pena put down a change-up. I have enough confidence in him to trust what he put down, and it was a 3-1 change up and I felt like that just set up everything, got me to 3-2 and then the 3-2 fastball froze him." Adam Jones singled and the bases were loaded for Davis, who leads baseball with 24 home runs. The crowd thought Scherzer had Davis twice but home plate umpire Tim Timmons called a couple of close pitches balls. So Davis had a full count. Scherzer's next pitch was a 97-mile-an-hour fastball that Davis swung at and missed. "He was just coming after me," Davis said. "Of course, when you're throwing 96, 97, 98, that helps." Said Scherzer: "I thought executing the 3-2 change-up that Davis was able to foul off allowed me to be able to get a fastball by him the next pitch. I thought that was a big situation, given how good of a hitter he is, with the bases loaded, 3-1 game, allowed me to have success there." Manager Jim Leyland didn't mince words. "That guys real dangerous right now, hes a real good looking hitter, hes very relaxed at the plate with big-time power, so to get him out in that situation, obviously, thats probably the game right there," Leyland said. In his last 33 regular-season starts, Scherzer is 21-3 with a 2.86 ERA. His commitment to improving each season is paying dividends. "My stuff is at the best it's ever been because every year, I always try to get better, better at something," Scherzer said. "Last year I thought my slider really progressed and was the best it's ever been in my career. "Obviously this year I've been able to add another curveball and that's made me even a better pitcher so that I'm able to get left-handers out more consistently. Because of that, I feel like that's why I'm having even more success this year. Every single year you try to get better and a product of that curveball is me getting better." The numbers bear that out. Last season left-handers hit .292 against Scherzer, compared with .201 for right-handers. This season, left-handers are batting just .190 against Scherzer and right-handers a measly .168. "I thank God that I don't have to face him anymore," Pena said. "He's doing such a great job. He has been improving his breaking ball and his change-up. His fastball, it's electrifying. I think that the fact that he's using all those pitches in any count, behind in the count, ahead in the count, is making him so special. "He's one of those guys that is just going to get better and better, believe it or not."
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