WORLD SERIES: Scherzer stoked for Game 4 start
For some guys, it’s a matter of figuring out how to settle themselves down on a big stage, not let it get too big for them.
“I think honestly just experience. You know, not letting your anxiety and adrenaline get the better of you but being able to use it to your advantage, and I think the only way to learn how your body is going to respond to these situations is having been in them before,” Justin Verlander said before his start in Game 1 of the World Series, responding to a question about what he’d been able to apply this trip, after going to the 2006 World Series as a rookie.
“So I think that’s what has made it easier for me this postseason thus far to draw on some of my past experiences pitching in the postseason and some big games, to just allow me to be a little bit more at ease out there.”
For others, like Max Scherzer, there’s no issue with embracing the magnitude of the game.
The bigger the stage, the more Max likes it.
“I love it. Because I’m not afraid of the situation, not afraid of the spotlight. I love being in these situations, because I always believe in myself,” the Tigers’ Game 4 starter said after he pitched his team to the World Series berth-clinching, sweep-sealing win in Game 4 of the American League Championship Series.
Having one trip to the postseason under his belt last year, Scherzer better knew what to expect this year, too, better knew how he needed to deal with the excitement, the atmosphere.
“This year I knew, let it fly. Use the energy of the crowd to your advantage. That was my approach (in the ALCS). I was able to treat it like a regular season game but with a little bit more amp to it,” he said. “For me, I was able to keep it right where I needed to be. That’s what allowed me to execute my pitches tonight.”
The Tigers will need Scherzer to properly channel his emotions again on Sunday, when they send him to the mound for Game 4. After losing the first two games of the World Series in San Francisco, the Tigers needed to win one of the first two home games to get the series back to Verlander in the rotation. They needed to win two of the three to send the series back to San Francisco.
Scherzer is ready, too.
“Oh, I absolutely relish it. I mean, this is the start of a lifetime to be able to pitch in the World Series. You know, every game you pitch in the World Series is a must-win game, so what better opportunity than the one I have?” he said, admitting it doesn’t matter to him if it’s a game the Tigers need to win to avoid elimination, or if it’s one that will enable them to tie the series at 2-2.
“Absolutely not, because I’ve got to give the team a chance to win tomorrow, so regardless of what the series is at, it’s a must-win game. We’re trying to win the World Series. So, if we’re going to do that, I’m going to need to pitch well.”
It helps that he’s had a few days to get acclimated to the series, too, soak in the atmosphere.
“I’ve already done that. Being out there for the introductions for Game 1 and watching the flyover, that’s just such a cool experience to be a part of, I mean, part of the World Series,” he said. “I’ve already gotten to pinch myself and say I’m in the World Series. (Sunday) when I go out there, it will be business as usual for me.”