Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Mizzou in the Majors 2010: Max Scherzer

Max Scherzer, Detroit Tigers

Max Scherzer's player page and stats

Max's season can be summarized by his monthly ERAs:
4.25 April
9.45 May
3.48 June
2.31 July
1.29 August
3.14 September
Tigers pitcher Max Scherzer figures himself out - at least for one start (, 5/31)
It was only one game. And yet, it felt like so much more -- in the career of Max Scherzer, and in this Tigers season.

Scherzer entered Sunday's game with a 7.29 ERA, which is two runs north of lousy. He left it to a standing ovation, after striking out 14 Oakland A's.
. . .

"You can't fix your arm slot," Scherzer said.

Once he realized that, Scherzer tried to figure out if something else was causing his arm slot to drop. He watched film and realized he was wrapping his arm back behind his body too much, throwing everything out of whack.

Problem solved ... except, later that day, the Tigers sent him down to Toledo.
He pitched great down there, then came back up and absolutely dominated the A's. After walking Rajai Davis to lead off the game, Scherzer struck out six of the next seven batters.
Royals have no answers for Scherzer in loss to Tigers (, 9/22)
Scherzer, 12-10, permitted only two hits in his previous game, too — a 9-2 victory over the White Sox. Command problems now seem a thing of the past; he hasn’t walked more than two in any of his last eight starts.

What changed?

Scherzer cites an improved slider — and the decision to use it earlier in games — as a key in elevating the effectiveness of his fastball and change-up.

“A lot of (its improvement) was the decision to throw it early in the game,” said Scherzer, an All-American when he was at Missouri. “I was thinking (before), ‘Save your good stuff for later.’

“But then it would be an hour since I’d thrown one, and I’d lose my feel for it. That’s really been the difference in the increased improvement of my slider.”

September's surging starters: Scherzer (FanGraphs, 9/27)
Not only is Scherzer striking batters out at a high rate, but he’s also pitching deep into games, something that has become underrated in fantasy circles. In my mind, Scherzer shouldn’t fall past the fifth or sixth round next year, and should be the first Tigers’ pitcher off the board. That’s right, Max Scherzer is better than Justin Verlander, and should be treated like it
Backstories for 2010 Milestones (, 10/5)
May 30 Max Scherzer, Tigers, struck out 14 in five and two-thirds shutout innings, becoming the first pitcher since 1900 with as many strikeouts pitching five and two-third innings or fewer.

Only Brandon Morrow of the Jays had a game with more strikeouts this season, whiffing 17 Rays on August 8, when he lost a no-hitter with two down in the 9th. Bud Norris of Houston and Washington Stephen Strasburg also had 14 strikeout games, both against the Pirates. Twice during the season, Scherzer struck out eight in five and two-third innings.

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