Scherzer to go for more history in Monday's finale
CLEVELAND -- Max Scherzer will have a chance to match Roger Clemens' 14-0 start from 1986 when he takes the mound here at Progressive Field for Monday night's series finale against the Indians. From there, it's a short distance to record territory, and he'd match a Cleveland hero if he got it.
Just two pitchers in modern American League history have started a season 15-0. Johnny Allen was the first, doing so with the 1937 Indians. Dave McNally matched the mark when he went 15-0 for the Orioles in 1969.
Allen came within a game of an unbeaten season. He stood 4-0 in mid-June when he was sidelined by appendicitis, according to a biography from the Society for American Baseball Research. He returned in August and won 11 starts in a 12-start stretch. He entered his final start with a 15-0 record before losing a 1-0 game in Detroit to Jake Wade and the Tigers. He gave up just five hits over eight innings in that game, with a Hank Greenberg RBI single accounting for the game's lone run.
If the Indians were to thwart Scherzer's bid for a 14-0 start 76 years later, it might be some measure of revenge.
McNally's 15-0 starts included 11 no-decisions, stretching his unbeaten streak to the end of July.
Clemens went 14-0 over his first 15 starts in 1986, carrying him through June, before losing to the Blue Jays on July 2 of that year. Ron Guidry is the only other pitcher since 1916 with a 13-0 start, doing so with the 1978 Yankees.
The Major League standard is still a ways off. Rube Marquard had a 19-0 record with the 1912 Giants -- 18 of those wins coming in starts -- before finishing the season 26-11.
Scherzer's 17 starts without a loss to begin the season is tied for the fifth-longest streak among Major League pitchers since 1916, matching him with Guidry from 1978 and Preacher Roe from 1952. A win or a no-decision Monday would tie Scherzer for fourth with Brooks Lawrence, who went 10-0 over his first 18 starts in 1956.
McNally's 15-0 record covered 26 starts, the longest unbeaten streak to begin a season by a Major League starter since 1916.