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Sunday, October 9, 2011
Tigers turn to Scherzer to changeup series


Max Scherzer
Scherzer
Saturday marked the third time the Detroit Tigers have lost in Game 1 of the ALCS. Bad news for Tigers fans, they went on to lose each of the two previous series, 1987 to the Minnesota Twins and 1972 vs the Oakland Athletics.

Still this is a familiar position for the Tigers this postseason and they will again turn to Max Scherzer to bail them out of a 1-0 series hole.

Schherzer was up to the challenge in the ALDS against the New York Yankees throwing six scoreless innings while allowing only two hits. He became the third pitcher to do so in a postseason game against the Yankees in Yankee Stadium (other two are Warren Spahn and Cliff Lee).

In that Division Series start against the Yankees, Scherzer relied on his changeup to neutralize a Yankees lineup loaded with tough left-handed hitters. Yankees lefties were 0-for-5 with three strikeouts in at-bats ending with a Scherzer changeup and missed on five of their 11 swings against the pitch.

Scherzer threw his changeup 26 percent of the time in his two LDS appearances, well above his season average of 20 percent, but he'll likely feature it less against a righty-heavy Texas Rangers lineup.

In three starts against the Rangers this season, Scherzer is throwing his changeup just 15 percent of the time, the least often of any opponent he's faced at least twice.

Instead, expect to see more fastballs and sliders from Scherzer, which could be trouble for the righty, as the Rangers have pummeled his fastball this season.