1) Tigers starter Max Scherzer continues to dominate the opposition and is tied for fourth in the AL with a career-high 16 wins. Scherzer leads the majors with 220 strikeouts and is 10-1 over his past 14 starts — arguably the best starting pitcher in baseball during that span. Scherzer’s strikeout rate per nine innings (11.21) is on pace to be the highest in the AL since Pedro Martinez struck out 11.8 per nine innings in 2000, according to MLB.com.
2) After having the worst month of his 2012 season in August (.263, two homers, six RBIs, one SB, 32 K’s), Austin Jackson has responded in September, batting .311 with seven walks and nine strikeouts in 45 at-bats. Jackson has had the best season of his career at the plate, setting career highs in home runs, RBIs and walks while continuing to be the Tigers’ best defender.
3) The Tigers have stayed in the AL Central race mainly due to their dominance over the division rival White Sox. The Tigers have won nine of their past 10 games against the Chisox and 12 of 17 overall. Miguel Cabrera and Jackson have feasted on White Sox pitchers with 25 hits each, and Justin Verlander, Scherzer, Doug Fister and Rick Porcello are a combined 8-2 with a 2.45 ERA in 13 starts against the White Sox.
1) Setup man Joaquin Benoit has not had the steady season he had in 2011. Benoit has given up 12 home runs, the most he has given up since 2004, when he was used predominantly as a starting pitcher, and he has walked more batters this year than he did in each of the past two seasons. After going four weeks without allowing a run, he allowed three hits and a run against the White Sox on Tuesday and two hits (including a home run) and two earned runs the following night.
2) Ryan Raburn’s disastrous season appears to be over. Raburn was put on the disabled list Thursday with a right quadriceps strain. The move to the DL seemed unnecessary because it was made even though rosters were expanded Sept. 1. Raburn batted .171, with one HR and 12 RBIs in 66 games, and he played poorly at second base and in the outfield.
3) Slugger Prince Fielder has struggled in September. Fielder is hitting just .196 this month after batting .370 in August. Fielder snapped an 18-at-bat hitless streak with a three-run homer against the White Sox in an 8-6 victory Wednesday. The Tigers play 10 of their remaining 18 games at home, where Fielder has been more productive.