It's hard to pitch better than Max Scherzer has his last two times out. Wade Davis has come awfully close.
Davis and Scherzer were scheduled to square off Tuesday, but the game was postponed because of rain. On Wednesday, they'll try to do it again.
Unfortunately for Scherzer, the Tigers' right-hander has nothing to show for his recent efforts. Scherzer's numbers reflect the unpredictability of baseball. He earned a victory in his first start of the year, when he allowed four runs in five innings. Over his past two outings, he has yielded only two earned runs in 14 innings while tallying 23 strikeouts. He didn't factor into the decision in either game.
"I was able to start getting all three pitches to work," Scherzer said after limiting Seattle to one run over eight innings his last time out. "Fastball, slider, changeup -- I was able to start throwing them for strikes and then start moving them out of the zone. That gave [catcher Brayan] Pena some flexibility to get creative in the pitch-calling. He did a great job back there, what pitch to throw in what situation. We got in a good rhythm, a good roll, and I was able to put together a good outing to keep us competitive in that game."
Scherzer is 6-4 with a 3.48 ERA in 13 career outings against Kansas City.
Davis has not allowed a run in either of his past two starts, spanning 12 innings. He earned wins against both the Twins and Braves, as he held Atlanta's high-powered offense in check over seven innings on April 17 to snap the Braves' 10-game win streak.
"I came out with my big goal to get ahead," Davis said. "I know they have a pretty good offense, so I had to mix it up a lot and minimize my mistakes and keep them off the plate."
Royals: Mendoza waits
• Luis Mendoza was scheduled to start Wednesday's game in Detroit and make his first appearance since April 12, but he will have to wait once again. A confluence of off-days and postponements allowed the Royals to skip Mendoza in the last turn through the rotation, and they will do so again Wednesday.
"I take it as a positive. It gives my arm some rest after a busy winter. Maybe that'll help me stay healthy the rest of the season," Mendoza said.
Mendoza is 0-1 with a 6.17 ERA in his two starts.
"He might not be quite as sharp and he might be ultra-sharp, I don't know," Royals manager Ned Yost said.
• Kansas City's starting rotation has worked a minimum of six innings in each of the past seven games and into the seventh frame in six of the past eight. In 17 games thus far, Kansas City starters have worked at least six innings on 14 occasions.
Tigers: Papa Grande returns to close
• The Tigers signed right-hander Jose Valverde to a one-year deal Tuesday and immediately named him their closer after he made three appearances for Class A Lakeland in four days.
It was part of a day of bullpen shuffling for Detroit, which also placed right-hander Octavio Dotel on the 15-day disabled list with right elbow inflammation and promoted Bruce Rondon from Triple-A Toledo.
Manager Jim Leyland said he would like to ease Rondon, a candidate to close during Spring Training, into action as he makes his Major League debut, but there is no hesitation with Valverde.
"His stuff has been very good," team president/general manager Dave Dombrowski said of Valverde. "We think he's ready to come in and close games for us."
• According to Tigers media relations, Al Alburquerque's five consecutive strikeouts Sunday against the Angels were the most by a Tigers reliever since Nelson Cruz fanned six Brewers in a row on July 8, 2000.
• Royals righty Ervin Santana tossed his third consecutive quality start in the first game of Sunday's twin bill in Boston. He only had two such stretches all of last season.
• Tigers first baseman Prince Fielder snapped a five-game stretch without an RBI when he tallied two RBIs on Sunday. Prior to the mini-drought, he recorded 18 RBIs over a nine-game span.