Scherzer, Tigers blank Astros 3-0
Max Scherzer struck out three in three impressive innings, and the Detroit Tigers beat the Houston Astros 3-0 on Wednesday.
Scherzer allowed one hit and Ian Kinsler contributed an RBI single for the Tigers. Houston managed only three hits against six Detroit pitchers.
"The 1-2-3 innings, those are results here in the spring. Those really don't matter to me," Scherzer said. "It's the process of attacking the zone and getting better."
Scherzer, the AL Cy Young Award winner, has allowed one run in five innings during spring training. Detroit is set to send Justin Verlander, its other star right-hander, to the mound Thursday against a Philadelphia split squad -- weather permitting. Verlander is coming back from offseason surgery and has not pitched in a game this spring.
Jose Altuve singled in the first inning for the only hit off Scherzer. Houston center fielder Dexter Fowler was scratched because of a stiff neck.
Tigers: Scherzer struck out Delino DeShields, Jon Singleton and George Springer -- all looking.
"I was able to throw offspeed when I needed to, I was able to locate fastballs when I needed to," Scherzer said. "Those are very good signs. I had a lot of success last year doing that -- when I've been able to throw offspeed on 3-2 counts."
Astros: Lucas Harrell allowed a run and three hits in three innings. Like Scherzer, Harrell is from Missouri.
"I wouldn't say friends, but we know each other. We've played together and against each other a lot," Harrell said. "We played fall league and summer league together. ... His ability to strike people out is unbelievable. You saw it last year on display."
Outfielder Ezequiel Carrera, a non-roster invitee in Detroit camp, may merit a closer look now that left fielder Andy Dirks is expected to miss three months because of a back injury. Carrera made a diving catch on Jason Castro's flyball to shallow center on Wednesday, and he later fell to the ground while catching a flyball by DeShields -- holding on despite obvious problems with the sun.
"He didn't panic. He stayed with it," Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said. "I think he's a good outfielder, really. It's just the first time the Tigers have really gotten a look at him."
Carrera has played in 131 games over the last three seasons with the Cleveland Indians and Philadelphia Phillies.
Astros: Fowler missed the game but wasn't too concerned about his neck injury. He said he should be back Thursday.
"I slept on it wrong," he said. "You ever gone to sleep and forgot you went to sleep? Or you didn't realize you went to sleep? That's what happened."
Tigers: Detroit may have a decision to make Thursday. Verlander, who had surgery in January after injuring his groin, is slated to make his first start of the spring, but there's also the threat of bad weather.
"It's really going to depend on whether the game obviously is canceled or not -- and if it's not canceled, exactly how bad are the conditions, or the condition of the mound?" Ausmus said. "It sounds like the game is just going to end up being canceled. If that's the case, Justin will throw in the batting cage."
Ausmus seems to prefer that option, as opposed to pushing Verlander back and starting him Friday.