Max Scherzer is better than this
May 16, 2012 @ 15:17:16 PDT
Max Scherzer is frustrating the heck out of his roto owners this year. If you started him against the Chicago White Sox yesterday, you're probably still cursing him for ruining your ERA and WHIP for the day.
His line against the ChiSox (8 H, 5 ER, 3 BB and 3 K in 4 IP) was another brutal reminder that Scherzer isn't quite where he needs to be. He needed an astounding 99 pitches to get through those four frames. It looked as though he might be settling down after his first two May starts; he racked up 18 punchouts and just two walks while allowing three earned runs in 13 1/3 innings versus the Oakland Athletics and the White Sox.
After his most recent outing, Scherzer is sporting an ERA of 6.26 in 41 2/3 innings over eight starts. He's surrendered exactly one long ball in six of his eight starts. He's sandwiched a few bright spots in between, but the negatives have overshadowed the positives… so far.
Among the positives, he's allowed under three earned runs in just two of his eight starts, but those have both come this month. His two nine-K performances also came in May, and he put up a season-high 11-strikeout effort back on April 13 - against the White Sox, again. Over the small sample size, Scherzer has a K/9 of 10.37. Not bad.
The 27-year-old's (28 in July) walk rate is sitting at 3.89 currently, though, which is the highest in his career. It starts with the walks, obviously; he had a season-high seven free passes against the New York Yankees on April 29. He labored in that start, too, using 119 pitches in four-plus frames.
Jim Leyland observed in Scherzer's latest struggle, "It's just puzzling because he was just so totally out of sync." He can empathize with Scherzer's fantasy owners. The Detroit Free Press' Shawn Windsor points out that Scherzer has developed a bad habit of rushing his delivery, which leads to spotty command.
He's finding success and fanning batters with great frequency when he slows things down, but it's been a battle to consistently achieve this so far. A high HR/9 (1.30) and noticeably lofty BABIP (.403) are making him pay for the walks - and inflating his ERA.
It's worth poking around to see if Scherzer's up and down start is frustrating his owner enough to dump him. A little consistency with his delivery and efficiency with his pitches will go a long way since he's still missing bats with frequency (11.8 percent). Expect the hit rate to drop significantly, too. Until it does, you may want to pick and choose your spots with him until he displays a turnaround.
About Keith Hernandez
Keith, an editor with KFFL, joined the team as a Hot off the Wire analyst in 2008 and has been playing fantasy sports since 2005. He is involved in MLB, NFL and NASCAR content. He graduated from the University of California-San Diego in 2005 with a B.A. in Communications and was a four-year starter as a member of the baseball program. Follow @keithdez27
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