Q. Tell me, how excited are you to pitch that first game in your first post-season in a while.MAX SCHERZER: Yeah, I mean, this is post-season, all the chips are on the line. Everything is riding on these next five games. And the fact that I get the ball, man,
Q. Tell me, how excited are you to pitch that first game in your first post-season in a while.
MAX SCHERZER: Yeah, I mean, this is post-season, all the chips are on the line. Everything is riding on these next five games. And the fact that I get the ball, man, couldn't ask for a better situation, facing the Dodgers. This is going to be fun.
Q. Even though some of the Dodgers have faced you in the past, how much do you think it's an advantage for you that you didn't pitch against them this season?
MAX SCHERZER: Not much. There's too much video now, too much data; that they know exactly what I'm doing and they are going to formulate a game plan. Those guys over there have faced me. They are going to understand probably where they have had success against me and try to find ways to tell their young guys who haven't faced me how to get me.
Q. You've talked about this year, how you like measuring yourself against the best, going up against the best pitchers. What do you think when you are going up against Kershaw?
MAX SCHERZER: It's what you play this game for. You don't measure yourself against the worst; you measure yourself against the best. And I think this is best opponent I could possibly face with the Dodgers and Kershaw throwing.
This is something you always remember. You want to be in these situations, because this is too much fun, to be able to go up and face a team and pitcher of this caliber.
Q. I know you've worked on a lot of things, adding things to your arsenal that are particularly helpful against left-handed hitting. How do you think you've evolved in your ability to handle left-handed hitters, obviously the Dodgers have quite a few good ones?
MAX SCHERZER: You're talking about over the course of the past four or five years, I've continued to evolve what I've been able to do with my curveball and with the slider, being able to throw it to left-hand hitters, as well.
That's something I've always -- you know, it's always been kind of my Achilles heel. The left-handed hitters have always had a little bit more success against me. Because of that, I've also put the most amount of attention into that and tried to make myself better and really try to pitch with four pitches at left-hand hitters so that I can have multiple looks at the lineup and change things around if I think they are sitting on one pitch during the at-bat.
You know, over the course of the season, I've even learned more about myself, about what I have to do to get left-handed hitters out consistently. They have a good group of left-handed hitters, so it should be fun to face them.
Q. Your experience is limited with Pedro Severino, can you talk about the possibility of throwing to him, him calling games and your confidence in him if he's your catcher?
MAX SCHERZER: In most scenarios, having a rookie catcher behind the plate, you probably have pause for concern of not being in sync with him.
But Severino is completely different. First off, he's way more mature and understands the game way further than any rookie catcher I've been around. He gets it. He really understands the game and he does a great job, in between my starts, of understanding everything that goes into calling the game and understanding what numbers I'm looking at, understanding my sequences, understanding the signs that are going down so that when he does -- when I have pitched to him, I pitched to him in Arizona, it felt very comfortable throwing some of those. I was actually excited to throw to him because he's actually really good back there as a catch-and-throw catcher.
Q. As a fellow pitcher, what do you admire most about Kershaw?
MAX SCHERZER: Everything he can do. He's not walking anybody. I think that's probably the first and foremost thing; that he's absolutely attacking you with all of his stuff. He's not going to walk anybody. I think that's probably the most impressive thing or the thing I take most away from his game.
Q. Could you tell me what you like about José Lobaton, what you like about him behind the plate?
MAX SCHERZER: Yeah, he's a veteran and he understands the hitters very well and understands the sequencing of what pitch to throw in what situation. Even though I might have some things I do a little bit differently than most, his ideas are usually pretty powerful in that when he puts a sign down, I usually trust him.
And that's where, you know, being on the bench the full year, of us going over different scenarios, like, hey, what pitch would we use right now and playing that game.
That way, the times I have thrown to him, I have felt very comfortable with José behind the plate. Even though Willy and I have had the bulk of the season, the games I have had Loby back there has been very fun, because sometimes when you get the backup catcher, he's real excited to get in there and he really wants to do really well.
Q. When you were young in Arizona, you pitched against the Dodgers a bunch of times, but you were a different pitcher then. The last three years, you've only pitched against them three times. Is it good or bad that there's a familiarity but not a ton of it?
MAX SCHERZER: It works to everybody's advantage. I'm sure they have guys on their side that have strengths that I don't know about, per se. I'm sure as I do more homework and really get all the little details out, I'll try to uncover them. That's the thing that goes on, I don't know every little single strength that they have, just like they don't know every little single strength I have. It's just part of the game. This is baseball, and the more you play each other, the more you figure out and the game stays the same.
Q. Knowing this Game 1 is going to be at home here tomorrow night, how excited are you for the fans and knowing that you're going to maybe feed off that energy?
MAX SCHERZER: Oh, I can't wait to come out here. It's probably just going to be rocking. Man, if that was happening, I love it when fans are all making their noise. I'm a high-adrenaline pitcher and I know how to feed off of it, and hopefully tomorrow at 5:30, this place is rocking.
Q. What's different about the 24 hours for you before a post-season start, as opposed to a regular season start?
MAX SCHERZER: Nothing. I'm pretty -- I pretty much know how to handle it. I've pitched in a lot of different scenarios here in the post-season. It's the same thing. You have to go out there with the same mentality, same preparation, and just go out there attack the zone.
The more you try to put these mental hurdles in front of you and these hoops that you think you have to jump through, it's just not there. It's the same game. Just every pitch is a little bit more magnified.
Q. How much do you cherish these opportunities, the Playoffs, as a veteran, having played in them but also having seasons that ended without post-season berths?
MAX SCHERZER: Yeah, it's a Catch 22, because you absolutely love being in these situations. This is what you play baseball for. This is every kid's dream is to be in this situation and be in the Playoffs and your pursuit of a World Series. You know, to go out here and be in the NLDS and have to try to win against the Dodgers, this is literally what we've dreamed about the whole season.
In the same breath, I've never won it, so I've also had heartbreak four times, and it's pretty painful in the off-season when you don't win.
So I don't know, you just choose how you want to live your life. Look, I haven't won a World Series, but I love being in these situations. I can't wait to get out there for Game 1 and compete, because I know I love to play baseball and I love to play baseball in the post-season.
Q. You talked about the catchers, of course Willy out and some of the other injuries have been talked about a lot, getting Murphy back if he plays tomorrow. What are the thoughts now for you guys as you have had to deal with the injuries the past couple weeks leading up to now?
MAX SCHERZER: It's just making sure everybody has their timing. Everybody feels good and feels 100 percent and that's why we've played some intersquad games and gotten guys out there and gotten some live intersquad games to get them seeing pitches and get their timing at the plate.
But at the same time, there's no such thing as post -- you can't practice timing, what it's going to be like during a real game. These guys have all played in the post-season before, so they all know how to handle when the lights really get turned out. I'm sure they will go back and recount on those experiences.