(SportsNetwork.com) - Max Scherzer takes aim at his seventh straight win on Wednesday, but more importantly will try to help his Detroit Tigers avoid a three-game sweep at the hands of the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field.
The American League's reigning Cy Young Award winner failed to pick up a win over his first three starts, but has been magnificent since then, winning six straight times, while surrendering just six runs in his last 39 innings.
Scherzer was again brilliant on Friday in Boston, as for the third time in four outings he did not allow a run, scattering just three hits over six frames. He also fanned seven, but walked four to improve to 6-1 to go along with a splendid 1.83 ERA.
"It's always going to drive me crazy when I'm not throwing first-pitch strikes and when I'm walking guys," said Scherzer, who has walked eight batters over his last two starts.
Scherzer has faced the Tribe 15 times and is 8-4 against them with a 4.44 ERA.
Cleveland, meanwhile, will counter with righty Zach McAllister, who has lost his last four decisions. McAllister dropped his second straight start on Friday to Oakland and was absolutely hammered, as he gave up eight runs before leaving with one out in the second inning. He fell to 3-4 in the shellacking, while his ERA skyrocketed to 5.36.
"I'm trying my hardest, but baseball is a game of peaks and valleys, and I'm down right now," said McAllister.
McAllister beat Detroit back on April 16, but is just 1-2 in seven starts against the Tigers with a 4.29 ERA.
After snapping Detroit's 11-game road winning streak in Monday's opener, Cleveland made it two in a row over the AL Central leaders on Tuesday, as Mike Aviles sparked a four-run second inning with a two-run double and the Indians prevailed, 6-2.
Michael Bourn and Asdrubal Cabrera each plated a run during the rally in support of starter Trevor Bauer, who was recalled from Triple-A Columbus prior to the game.
Making just his second start of the season and first since April 9, Bauer (1-1) spun six-plus solid frames, allowing just two runs on seven hits and three walks with five strikeouts to pick up the win.
"He did a lot of things good," Cleveland manager Terry Francona said of Bauer. "He competed, he pitched in, he was aggressive attacking the strike zone."
Michael Brantley, whose walkoff home run lifted the Tribe to a win in the opener, is batting .400 during a 17-game home hitting streak - one shy of the ballpark record shared by Kenny Lofton in 1996 and Roberto Alomar in 2000.
Torii Hunter and Alex Avila both homered to account for Detroit's offense, while starter Justin Verlander (5-3) surrendered five runs on 11 hits and three walks over six innings to absorb the loss.
"It just seemed like tonight their whole lineup was really focused and really battling me," Verlander said of the Indians. "They were waiting for their pitch."
Detroit split a two-game series with the Tribe earlier in the year. The Tigers were 9-1 a year ago at Progressive Field.