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AL CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES: TIGERS v RED SOX


October 17, 2013


Max Scherzer


DETROIT, MICHIGAN: Game Five

Q. Jim was saying earlier that each playoff is a little different. How is this playoff different than your other playoff experiences?
MAX SCHERZER: The games are different but the mentality is the same. Every game is a must win. I haven't played a game yet where it hasn't been a must‑win situation for us. For me it's the same mentality every single time we take the field.

Q. Jim was saying this is the best rotation he's ever had in all his years in the game. What is it about you guys that has been so special this year?
MAX SCHERZER: Just how we're able to execute with multiple off‑speed pitches and pitch backwards, pitch with fastballs, we're just able to do a lot of different things. When we combine all our strengths together, I feel like we can be one of the best rotations in baseball.
So far this season we've pitched well, and we need to continue to get where we need to be.

Q. Game 6 will be a pressure situation, win or lose for the Tigers. How do you keep your emotions under control?
MAX SCHERZER: It's pretty easy. You just go out there and pitch your game. Baseball is still the same, 60 feet and 6 inches, and you have to throw strikes. The expectations and pressure doesn't mean you change. That's something that's always been instilled in me, and doesn't matter what the situation or what the game means, I'm always going to approach the game the same way.

Q. Obviously you've pitched well at Fenway, can you speak to some of the differences pitching at Fenway, not just the dimensions, but the atmosphere, I was going to say getting to the park, but that seemed to be a problem today, just the whole scene in Boston?
MAX SCHERZER: Fenway Park is a fun place to pitch in. You've got 38,000 fans all cheering against you. It's an intense atmosphere. But really, the dimensions is something that does actually come into play, just because you can feel that wall is right behind you. So there's just no room for error.
A routine fly ball can be a double in Fenway Park. So you've got to make sure you always execute pitches throughout the whole game.

Q. The second time facing the same team in five or six days, is the approach the exact same, or attack them differently the second time around?
MAX SCHERZER: It changes because they're familiar with what I did. Obviously they're going to be looking through the film and watching what I did, the sequences, patterns, when I threw off‑speed pitches, when I didn't. Obviously I've got to be ahead of the curve.
Obviously I don't know exactly what I'm going to do. But there will be things I do differently.

Q. You guys have piled up a lot of strikeouts in the first four games. How has that helped you keep their offense at bay, keep guys off base?
MAX SCHERZER: Strikeouts are important. Anytime you can generate an out without the ball being put in play, there's nothing that can be done in those situations. That's something as a staff we're with pretty good at, is generating swings and misses. Because we have such quality off‑speed pitches among all of us. When we're able to execute our off‑speed pitches, that's what makes us a tough team to face.

Q. When you think about the four just really overwhelming performances that each of you starters have had, if you would have known that you all would have pitched so well the first four games, would you be surprised to know that the series was 2‑2 or is that how things go this time of year?
MAX SCHERZER: Just how things go this time of year. This is postseason, this is what happens when the two best teams face each other. You're going to face a battle, series is going to be tied. It is. It's a three‑game series now. It comes down to who executes the most, who gets the big hit with two outs, who comes up with big defensive plays. That's what matters most, and that's how you want to play baseball. One pitch can determine a game. And we've got two teams going at it that can do it both.

Q. We hear a lot of talk throughout the season and going into the postseason about hitters waiting for mistakes and capitalizing on mistakes that pitchers make. When you get to the postseason, especially in a season like this with the caliber of hitters, is the margin of error significantly smaller for a pitcher or does it still come down to you feel you can execute a pitch well enough that they're not going to be able to hit it?
MAX SCHERZER: You're right. Analyzing it like that is correct. The game can come down to one pitch. But when you're actually out there on the mound and when you're pitching, you can't be worrying about the margin of error or whatnot. You have to go with your strengths and what you believe is the right pitch and keep executing pitches.
It's a mental challenge now. You know you're facing great lineups ‑‑ I know Boston is a great lineup. You have to execute from pitch 1 all the way to your last pitch. And that's a challenge is how many times you can do that.

Q. Your concentration level in the postseason, how much higher?
MAX SCHERZER: It's the same because during the regular season I'm trying to get everybody out and in the postseason I'm trying to get everybody out, so nothing changed.

Q. How aware are you of pitch count as the game goes on and does that Saturday start, given its importance, do you throw that by the wayside and get as deep into that ballgame as you can?
MAX SCHERZER: Yeah, at that point it does. Then it's kind of win or go home type situation. You're aware of pitch counts. You know where you're at within your start. You know how your arm feels within the pitch count, when you reach 80 pitches, 90, 100, 110 pitches. But when you have a win or go home type game, you're going to pitch as long as you can. You can physically execute pitches. I have to be smart enough to know when that limit is. That won't be a number, that will be something I'll be able to tell Skip when I have reached that limit.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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