Oct. 4 Max Scherzer postgame interview
Q. Max, it seemed like you threw a lot of fastballs early in the game today, and it seems like that's been something that's been going on for a couple of years. Is that an endgame strategy or is it more about setting up the plate and finding the plate?
MAX SCHERZER: No, it's just something when you're pitchin', you go on your instincts. Alex and I had a game plan that we wanted to do early in the game and when you get in the game, sometimes it changes. And today we noticed that my fastball seemed pretty good and my change‑up seemed pretty good.
So early in the game, I was featuring those two pitches a lot and we had some success there in the game because of that. And that's why I thought I was able to get in the groove and pitch deep into the game because of those two pitches.
Q. Max, these guys faced you last time and did well. Was there anything you took away from that start and brought into this game?
MAX SCHERZER: Not really. Like you said, they did get me. That's baseball. That's how it goes. They can get me and I can get them, and that's cat‑and‑mouse game.
Tonight I came in with fastballs and change‑ups and curveballs to the lefties to help slow them down, and made some pitches with the curveball in some situations to help generate some outs.
I thought I did a good job after attacking the zone, throwing first‑pitch strikes, something I always pride myself in and was able to get deep into the game. And because of that, I was able to pass the baton on to the bullpen, and Smyly and Benoit did their job and pitched lights out.
Q. You pretty much owned the lineup except for Yoenis Cespedes, who got the triple and the home run. What was the difference for him?
MAX SCHERZER: The first at‑bat, he caught too much over the plate and the third at‑bat, he had a good battle. It got to a 2‑2, and I didn't know what pitch to go with, and I thought if I went with my fastball, I could make him go away. That pitch caught too much of the plate and he took it deep and that's just something that happens. And it's baseball. It's pitching and you move on.
From there I was able to settle down and three big outs in that situation. The crowd was roaring and the crowd was on their feet, and to get those outs was big because I was then able to pass it on to the rest of the pen.
Q. Max, when Leyland went out there, I know we don't see him go out there very often without making a pitching change, do you think he was coming out to get you at first and what was his message to you when he did get out there?
MAX SCHERZER: Usually he makes a signal if he wants a pitcher pretty early and I didn't see him do that. And there are times when he will come out and ask you how you're doing. And at that time, I felt like I had bullets left and I could execute pitches, all my pitches at that point in time, even though there was three lefties coming up.
I told him I still thought I had something left in the tank if he wanted it and he said, "It's yours."
So that was the conversation and took the mentality, Keep it right here and battle through this seventh inning, because this is a big part of the game.
Q. Max, you pitched a lot of other games, but you had a Game 1 assignment. Psychologically, could you talk about where your mind was early in the innings?
MAX SCHERZER: It was the same as always. I don't get caught up in the hoopla, worry about where I'm pitching or if I'm pitching Game 1 or Game 5. When you're pitching against a postseason team like the A's, you have to bring your game. And tonight I was able to pitch effectively and pitch well against their left‑handed hitters and that's the reason why I had success tonight.
Q. Max, we've talked plenty of times about your belief is the last 15 pitches of the game are your biggest. Usually we're used to seeing those being fastballs and velocity. Seemed like, especially after that home run, that you changed speeds a lot on those guys and was able to do that effectively. How easy was that to do to control the adrenaline?
MAX SCHERZER: You're right, the last 15 pitches indicate how your outing goes and the wheels could have come flying off. But I thought I kept my composure and, like you said, was able to continue and execute curveballs and change‑ups to those three left‑handed hitters to help generate some outs.
Like I said, those last 15 pitches mean a lot, and when you can do it in the postseason, that means even more.
Q. This season you're undefeated when your team has given you at least 3 runs. How much a confidence boost is that?
MAX SCHERZER: That can change in a heartbeat. Teams like the A's, they can come out and whack you around. But for me, you know, getting those early runs is always big, especially in the postseason. It allows our hitters to do well. If I can throw up some zero's, they usually score even more.
So for me to go out there and pitch deep into the game and minimize their offense and collect some big outs in some big situations, I thought was a great part of my part. Obviously, it was a great part on my part and great part on my teammates to be able to score those easy runs on Miggy and Victor and Prince and Torii. All those guys getting on base early and to put themselves into position against a pitcher like Bartolo Colon. Because I mean he showed you how good he is because he shutdown our offense, and that shows you just how good this team is.