Zack Greinke and Max Scherzer don't deal with much adversity, but part of what makes them two of baseball's top pitchers is how they respond to it.
Both are on solid runs since their worst starts of the season, and they'll oppose each other Wednesday as Greinke's Los Angeles Dodgers face Scherzer's Detroit Tigers to close a two-game series at Comerica Park.Greinke (11-4, 2.66 ERA) is tied for the NL lead in wins and has allowed two earned runs or fewer in 14 of his 18 starts, but he gave up season worsts of five runs and 11 hits in 5 2/3 innings of a 5-3 loss to Kansas City on June 23.The right-hander has bounced back to pitch exceptionally well in his last two outings, giving up one run and striking out 10 in seven innings of a 9-1 win over St. Louis on June 28 before allowing one earned run with eight strikeouts in eight innings of Thursday's 3-2 victory over Colorado.Greinke, in his second season with the Dodgers (51-41), has teamed with reigning NL Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw to form an imposing duo in the rotation."What separates the best from the rest is work ethic," pitching coach Rick Honeycutt told MLB's official website about the All-Stars. "The way they approach everything every day -- they do everything well. They are always listening and looking for ways to get better."Greinke hasn't faced the Tigers (49-37) since 2012, and he's 6-2 with a 2.01 ERA in his last 11 starts against them.Scherzer (10-3, 3.47) has faced Los Angeles more recently, allowing two runs and striking out eight in seven innings of a 3-2, 10-inning loss April 8 at Dodger Stadium.Last season's AL Cy Young winner has gone 2-0 with a 1.71 ERA in three starts since giving up a career worst-tying 10 runs in an 11-4 loss to Kansas City on June 17. He's struck out 28 in 21 innings in that stretch and allowed one run and two hits through eight innings of an 8-1 win over Tampa Bay on Thursday.Scherzer retired 23 of the final 24 hitters he faced."I'd say the past three starts (I'm) really trying to drive (the ball) through the zone and then drive it underneath," Scherzer said. "That's the stuff I feel like after that Kansas City start, I really identified. That's what I'm doing a better job at now."The right-hander could be in line for another victory, especially if the AL Central-leading Tigers put on a similar offensive display as they did in the series opener.Miguel Cabrera, J.D. Martinez, Torii Hunter, Nick Castellanos and Rajai Davis had three hits apiece as Detroit snapped a three-game skid and set season bests for runs and hits with 20 in a 14-5 victory Tuesday.Martinez is batting .429 during a seven-game hitting streak, and he's raised his average from .242 to .331 since June 9.Los Angeles scored five times before Detroit had a chance to bat, including Juan Uribe's two-run homer. The Dodgers managed just three more hits the rest of the way."It shows what we're capable of," said catcher Alex Avila, who drove in two runs. "It's a good team win as far as being able to come back."Tigers designated hitter Victor Martinez missed his third straight game with a sore back. Manager Brad Ausmus said he isn't sure if Martinez will play before the All-Star break.
On June 17 against the Royals, Max Scherzer allowed a career-high-tying 10 ER in just 4 IP, and the Tigers were reeling, having lost 11 of 16 games.
But since then, Scherzer has been lights out, and the Tigers have won all 4 of his starts.