When the Los Angeles Dodgers elected to give Julio Urias, Walker Buehler and Max Scherzer an additional day of rest before their respective starts last week, it guaranteed the future Hall of Famer would not face the San Francisco Giants.
Instead, Scherzer’s next turn in the rotation came in the series opener against the St. Louis Cardinals. He flew ahead of teammates because of the ESPN Sunday Night Baseball broadcast not allowing for the Dodgers to arrive at their hotel in St. Louis until early Monday morning.
The Dodgers opened the game with a four-run inning and Scherzer took the game from there. He held the Cardinals to six hits and collected 13 strikeouts over eight shutout innings.
“When the boys are sleepwalking and they go out there and get you four runs, that’s a huge boost for me. That gives me freedom to really go out there and be aggressive 0-0 throughout the lineup,” Scherzer said.
Along with pounding the strike zone, Scherzer made an adjustment to the Cardinals’ approach and looked to take advantage of the changes in visibility.
“Their approach was to come out early swinging. I could feel that, so talked with Barnesy and Prior mid-game about needing to make a couple adjustments early of how we wanted to attack them, given we had a 4-0 lead,” Scherzer explained.
“From that point it was just change the sequence a little bit to account for their aggressiveness. Once you’re able to account for their aggressiveness, then execute with two strikes. It takes all the execution of every single pitch you’ve got, and you’ve got to be focused and know what you want to do with the baseball.
“Fortunately we were able to get some strikeouts in big situations. That’s what allowed me to pitch deep into the game. … Once the shadows start creeping in, that’s when you want to try to get to the offspeed as much as possible because it’s tough to see in those situations. Just worked with Barnesy back there, we had a good gameplan of what we wanted to do.
“This is always a tough stadium with the shadows because it gets into my eyes as well, so you really have to rely on feel. Your eyes are always in the sun with the way this stadium is set up, so you’ve got to trust your feel when you’re pitching here with shadows.
“You know you want to come in and you know you want to be aggressive with offspeed, because it’s really tough to see. Our guys were talking about that as well.
“They were having a tough time seeing the ball and there were line drives hit that guys were not able to see the ball. You know if the infielders are dealing with it, our hitters are dealing with it, just go out there and use it to your advantage.”
Scherzer’s dominant outing spoke volumes, but he did confirm as well the right hamstring tightness that surfaced last week was no longer an issue.
“Now I got this start out of the way, I can continue to get back into my routine, so hopefully I’m even better next time out,”
Scherzer has new view of Cardinals
A Missouri native, Scherzer grew up a Cardinals fan and attending their games. However, he didn’t find any sort of sentimental value pitching in front of family and friends at Busch Stadium.
“When you face the Cardinals, you’ve got to go out there and beat them. These aren’t the guys I grew up rooting for,” he said. “These are the guys I want to compete against. It’s a much different experience when you’re out there on the mound competing against them and you want to win for your team. Fortunately enough we were able to come away with the W.”
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