|Max Scherzer celebrates|
Against the Yankees, Scherzer said he "really had my changeup and slider going. When I can combine that with my fastball, that’s what really make me effective."♦ Grading the Tigers: Max Scherzer takes no-hitter into sixth inning, helps send Tigers into World Series (MLive)
Scherzer reminds me of a pitcher from the 1930s, the way his cap fits on his head and that three-quarters, slingshot delivery. He gets great movement on his fastball but still manages to keep his walks under control. And the stuff is electric; he was second to Verlander in strikeouts in the AL and first in the league in strikeouts per nine innings.
To me, Scherzer is a big reason the Tigers will be World Series favorite, no matter which team comes out of the National League. Whether or not he slots in as the No. 3 or 4 starter, he's pitching like an ace right now.
STARTING PITCHING: A♦ Terrific Scherzer caps rotation's ALCS brilliance (MLB.com)
Max Scherzer took a no-hitter into the sixth inning and held New York to one run over 5 2/3 innings. It was another dominating start for Scherzer, who was in complete control of his slider and a four-seamer that were used to strike out 10. He only walked two, but his pitch count was an issue early as Yankees batters did a solid job of grinding out at-bats.
Truthfully, even if Scherzer didn't give up the leadoff triple to Eduardo Nunez in the sixth, it would've been very unlikely he could've pulled off the no-no, simply because his pitch count was too high. He entered the sixth having already tossed 84 pitches.
Is it possible Scherzer started to fatigue in the sixth inning? Possibly. Three of the five batters he faced reached base and he wasn't able to spot his fastball as efficiently. That said, his velocity never -- at any point -- fell below 93 mph.
It was Max Scherzer on the hill last year in Game 6 of the American League Championship Series, when the Tigers were ultimately sent home by Texas just two wins shy of the World Series.♦ Fevered pitching carries Tigers to World Series (Detroit News)
So it was only fitting this year, with the Tigers needing one win to sweep the Yankees and reach the World Series for the first time since 2006, that Scherzer was back out there battling to help Detroit earn its 11th AL pennant.
"I just used that as motivation," said Scherzer of the loss to the Rangers, when he got pegged for six runs in 2 1/3 innings. "If I ever had a shot to pitch in the ALCS again, I would do it and win. And sure enough, I was able to do it, and we're going to the World Series."
Scherzer not only pitched well, he dominated. He fanned 10 over 5 2/3 innings, allowing just two hits, as the Tigers completed the sweep with an 8-1 victory in Game 4 of the ALCS on Thursday. And for five of those innings, Scherzer held the Yankees hitless.
"He's enjoying it, and it's fun watching him," Brad Scherzer said, smiling at the scene and talking about his son's stellar performance down the stretch — 14-5 with a 2.54 ERA since the end of June.♦ A resounding sweep by the Tigers (Detroit Free Press)
"He just took off on his own," his father added. "He went and did his thing. I always kept saying, 'Max, do your thing.' And that's what he did. He got it in that zone and kept going."
How about Scherzer? Pitching after Justin Verlander easily can leave you overlooked. But Max's strikeout ability is fantastic (he had 10 on Thursday in 5⅔ innings) and he certainly seems over whatever health hiccups he had late in the year. He took a no-hitter into the sixth inning. And he exited to a standing ovation.
Scherzer was one of so many heroes from this short-but-sweep series. There were other obvious stars, like Young, with two homers, six RBIs and a .353 average (the series MVP) and Verlander, who took a two-hit shutout into the ninth in Game 3.