Now that they trail the Tigers 1-0, the A’s don’t want the scenario where they would have to win Game 5 at Oakland. That’s because they’ll have to face Max Scherzer again. They have found out what it’s like to face Scherzer in the playoffs, and they would just as soon avoid him. That’s what happens when a guy strikes out 11 of your batters in your own ballpark.
If Oakland wins the next three, they can advance to the ALCS without having to figure out Scherzer, the probable 2013 American League Cy Young award winner.
Scherzer would just as soon not have to pitch a Game 5. He wants his next start to be Game 1 of the ALCS. That could very well be the case. Scherzer gives the Tigers a good shot at winning a playoff if he can pitch the first game, and then be available for the fifth game if necessary.
His strikeout ability is tough on a team in the first game of a series because they usually are coming off a layoff of at least a few days, and their timing is slightly off to begin with in that opener. Scherzer is pitching in the playoffs for the Tigers in his third straight season. This is the first time he has establish himself as Detroit’s playoff ace after pitching in Justin Verlander‘s shadow for so long.
Right now is Scherzer at his very best. That’s why teams want to avoid him as much as possible.