Max Scherzer and Felix Hernandez have proven themselves as two of baseball's best strikeout pitchers in recent years -- so one might expect a lot of swings and misses in a game that features both.
The two will face each other for the first time Wednesday night as the Detroit Tigers meet the Seattle Mariners for the second of their three-game set at Safeco Field.Scherzer ranks fifth in the majors since 2009 with an average of 9.3 strikeouts per nine innings, while Hernandez isn't far behind at 8.4. They finished second and fifth last season with 231 and 223 strikeouts, respectively.Scherzer (1-0, 4.09 ERA) is coming off a solid outing, limiting Oakland to two runs and five hits while striking out 11 in six innings of Friday's 4-3, 12-inning loss.Hernandez (1-2, 3.05) wasn't exactly sparkling in his first home start since signing a $175 million extension in the offseason, giving up four runs and 10 hits in 6 2/3 innings in Thursday's 4-3 loss to Texas."I had pretty good stuff, just made a couple of mistakes," he said.Hernandez has a tough task ahead of him in trying to slow down Detroit's red-hot offense. The Tigers (8-5) have won four of five while scoring at least six runs in six of their last seven. They won 6-2 in Tuesday's series opener, their seventh straight game with at least 10 hits.Miguel Cabrera had a home run and his second four-RBI game, and Austin Jackson's sensational start continued as he was 2 for 4 with two runs. Jackson has reached base in all 13 games while scoring in 11 for a total of 19 runs. He's batting .405 during a seven-game hitting streak.Six Detroit hitters with at least 40 at-bats are hitting .300 or better."We're just feeding off each other," Jackson said. "Everybody's trying to go up and have good at-bats and let the results take care of themselves."Meanwhile, the Mariners (6-9) have plated three runs or fewer in five of six."We've got to get the offense going. Loosen things up around here," manager Eric Wedge said. "You get a couple of guys going, you start to gain a little momentum and it gives everyone a little more room to breathe and games aren't always so tight."Michael Morse and Franklin Gutierrez both returned to Seattle's lineup Tuesday after missing the previous three games, but neither provided a huge lift. Morse, who out been out because of a non-displaced fracture of his pinkie, went 1 for 4 with an RBI, while Gutierrez, sidelined by leg soreness, was hitless in four at-bats.Scherzer had a 2.00 ERA in winning each of his first four career starts against the Mariners, before getting tagged for five runs in five innings in a 7-4 loss on April 24. Kendrys Morales is 3 for 9 against him with two doubles and a triple, while Gutierrez has a double and a homer in six at-bats versus Scherzer.Hernandez has gotten the better of the Tigers, going 9-2 with a 2.65 ERA in 12 career starts, though Cabrera is 9 for 21 (.429) against him.