DURHAM, NC – The American Association has seven graduates currently pitching in Major League Baseball. But, only one has ever earned baseball’s highest mid-season honor. Tonight, former Fort Worth Cats right-hander Max Scherzer (pictured) will take the mound as the starting pitcher for the American League in the Major League Baseball All-Star Game in New York.
Scherzer’s terrific first half of the season with the Detroit Tigers earned him the starting job for the A.L. The right-hander won his first 13 decisions and lost just once in 19 starts. He also finished with a 3.19 ERA and the second-most strikeouts in Major League Baseball with 152.
Looking at those numbers, it is hard to believe that just six years ago Scherzer was pitching for the Fort Worth Cats when they were members of the American Association. The right-hander made three starts for Fort Worth in 2007, finishing his brief independent baseball career with a 1-0 record and a miniscule 0.56 ERA. In 16 innings, Scherzer struck out a nearly unfathomable 25 hitters and surrendered just one earned run. One year later, he was in the big league’s, pitching for the Arizona Diamondbacks at the age of 23.
Fast-forward to 2013: Scherzer is in his fourth season pitching with Detroit and having a truly remarkable year. His initial 13-0 start was the best mark by any pitcher since Roger Clemens started the 1986 season 14-0. Clemens started the All-Star Game that year, won the All-Star MVP and went on to win 24 games to capture both the A.L. MVP and the Cy Young award. While Scherzer is not being asked to reach those lofty achievements, his 2013 campaign has already been one of the best in baseball history.
Detroit manager Jim Leyland, also the manager of the A.L. All-Star team, announced on Monday that Scherzer would get the ball as the All-Star Game starter at New York’s Citi Field. Scherzer will be opposed by New York Mets right-hander Matt Harvey, who will be pitching in his home ballpark. San Francisco Giants manager Bruce Bochy, who will lead the National League team, announced his decision to start Harvey on Monday, as well. Harvey enters the All-Star break with 7-2 record and a 2.35 ERA. You can watch the 2013 MLB All-Star Game tonight at 8 p.m. ET on FOX.