ALDS: Detroit Tigers’ Max Scherzer Must Bounce Back Against Oakland Athletics
He’s going to get another chance to earn his first win of the season against the Athletics, but he’s going to have to do it on a much larger stage. Scherzer will pitch in Game 1 of the ALDS against Oakland, on the road, in one of the most boisterous atmospheres an opponent will ever experience in a baseball game.
The Detroit Tigers‘ top pitcher this season had a rough outing, by his own standards, against the A’s on August 29. The Tigers walked off with an exciting victory that day, but they had to come from behind in the ninth inning to do so. Scherzer allowed six runs in five innings pitched as the Athletics were able to put the ball in play early and often. It was the most runs Scherzer has given up in a game this season and one of his lower strikeout totals as well.
Scherzer’s second start of the season came against Oakland, and while he only allowed two earned runs that day, he was unable to earn a victory. That outing went much better, but the A’s are a much different team now than they were on April 12. Oakland has a different hero at the plate from one game to the next. It’s not like you can buckle down on the heart of the batting order and cruise through the back end of it. Oakland has a bunch of scrappy hitters, and none of them should be taken lightly.
The Athletics will take a base-runner any way they can, but they can hit for power as well. They ranked fourth in the majors in walks and third in total home runs hit. The biggest key for Scherzer will be to not hand out free passes to first base and keep his focus, no matter who is at the plate.
Scherzer is coming off one of his strangest outings of the season. On September 25, he pitched seven scoreless innings while allowing just two hits. That’s the good news. The bad news was that he issued six walks. Oakland has enough speed in their roster to make the most of those base-runners, and he can’t afford to put them on base without making them earn it.