Max Scherzer had a Cy Young season in the regular season, but all of that will not amount to much from a team perspective, unless he is able to be the leading ace in the postseason. Scherzer has never been relied upon to be the ace of a postseason roster, and while he has delivered all season, the postseason is a whole other animal. Last year, Justin Verlander all but carried the Detroit Tigers past the Oakland Athletics in order for the Tigers to get themselves out of this matchup alive again, they may need Scherzer to take the place of Justin.
The good news for the Tigers is that Scherzer has experience pitching and pitching well in the postseason, but being that very first starter that everyone is gunning for is going to create a new stress and a new test for Scherzer. The keys have been given to Scherzer to drive this very expensive car, and it’s up to him to ensure he keeps it from getting in a crash. There is no doubt that this move was necessary, given the results of the regular season and the struggles of Verlander this season, but you can’t script October and you can’t rely solely on regular season stats for postseason purposes.
We will see if Scherzer is ready to be that big game pitcher; his starts didn’t really have any huge pressure associated with them this season. His past experiences in the postseason will help tremendously, but he is now going to be the hunted as opposed to being the hunter. Everyone is going to be gunning for him and will be studying every pitch he throws, and it will be more important than ever to be on his very top game. If he isn’t, the Tigers will be in trouble.