MLB Pitching Matchup Of Week: Max Scherzer Vs. Masahiro Tanaka
There’s one clear pitching matchup around baseball this week that stands above the rest and it’s Tuesday night at Yankee Stadium when Yankess ace Masahiro Tanaka faces Washington’s Max Scherzer, who is the current betting favorite at Bovada for the NL Cy Young Award. Of course Scherzer won the AL Cy Young in 2013 with Detroit. The Yankees are -109 favorites with a total of 7. You won’t get Scherzer as an underdog very often.
Need To Know
The Nationals’ right-hander has been electric in his first season in D.C.—he’s tied with Dallas Keuchel for the majors’ second-best ERA (1.85), is fourth in the NL in strikeouts per nine (10.4) and is third in baseball in ERA+ (210).
Scherzer went 5-1 with a 1.67 ERA during the month of May and was named NL Pitcher of the Month — the best record and lowest ERA among National League starters who threw at least 40.0 innings last month. Throwing at least seven innings in each of his six May starts, Scherzer tied a Nationals record (2005-present) with eight consecutive starts (dating to April 17) of at least seven innings of work. He matched Livan Hernandez’s stretch of eight straight from June 20-July 31, 2005. Scherzer and Phillies left-hander Cole Hamels were the only National League pitchers to throw 43.0 innings or more in May.
However, last time out Scherzer lost his fourth game of the season after giving up four runs on six hits — including two homers — and two walks while striking out five in six innings last Tuesday vs. Toronto.
Tanaka looked tremendous in his comeback start from the disabled list last Wednesday, firing seven inning of one-run ball and hitting 96 mph on the radar gun in Seattle. His injured wrist and forearm appeared healed, and he left the Yankees with a lot of hope. On Sunday, he said it’s the best he’s felt since last season’s three-month run of excellence, a stretch that saw him post a 2.10 ERA in over 115 innings.
Tanaka had been close to normal before being placed on the DL, recording a 3.22 ERA in four April starts. But the right-hander wasn’t himself on the mound. His average fastball velocity was down to 91.43 mph, which limited the effectiveness of his offspeed pitches. The velocity returned to form against the Mariners, and Tanaka struck out nine over seven innings while allowing just three hits and no walks. Yankees manager Joe Girardi said no matter how a pitcher chooses to attack hitters, a little extra speed on a pitch can’t hurt.
“The extra velocity makes guys speed up, is what it does. It’s not the key to pitching,” Girardi said. “But it does allow you to do some extra things.”
Tanaka is the first Yankees pitcher since 1914 to pitch at least six innings and not allow more than three hits and one run in each of his last three starts. The Yankees’ 6-2 victory over the Los Angeles Angels on Sunday was their sixth in a row, marking their longest winning streak in two years.
Key Betting Trends
Nationals are 0-4 in their last 4 games vs. a right-handed starter.
Nationals are 5-1 in Scherzers last 6 starts.
Nationals are 4-1 in Scherzers last 5 starts when their opponent allows 2 runs or less in their previous game.
Yankees are 4-0 in Tanakas last 4 starts.
Yankees are 14-3 in Tanakas last 17 starts following a Quality Start in his last appearance.
Yankees are 4-1 in Tanakas last 5 home starts vs. a team with a winning record.
Yankees are 8-2 in Tanakas last 10 starts after scoring 5 runs or more in their previous game.
Under is 4-0-1 in Scherzers last 5 starts vs. a team with a winning record.
Under is 3-0-1 in Scherzers last 4 road starts vs. a team with a winning record.
Under is 4-1 in Scherzers last 5 starts with the total set at 6.5 or lower.
Under is 7-2 in Tanakas last 9 starts following a Quality Start in his last appearance.
Under is 6-2 in Tanakas last 8 starts as a home favorite.
Under is 6-2 in Tanakas last 8 home starts.
Under is 5-2 in Tanakas last 7 starts after scoring 5 runs or more in their previous game.
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