Q. Max, what was the process like for you with Dusty and the trainers and stuff to get to the point where you said, okay, I'll pitch Game 3. Were you fighting for Game 2? What was that like?MAX SCHERZER: No. It was a process of going through every scenario
Q. Max, what was the process like for you with Dusty and the trainers and stuff to get to the point where you said, okay, I'll pitch Game 3. Were you fighting for Game 2? What was that like?
MAX SCHERZER: No. It was a process of going through every scenario and weighing the risk versus reward of, you know, knowing that I probably wasn't going to be able to pitch Game 1. And then looking at the schedule here for five games, and knowing that Strasburg could pitch 1 and 5; that by pitching Game 3, that gives us a couple extra days to build extra strength into my leg, which I needed, and also provides the possibility that if you do pitch Game 3, that you could be in relief for Game 5, if need be.
So we kind of ran down every scenario of what a five-game series looks like and tried to make the best decision possible for the club.
Q. What were your workouts this week? Were they different than you would normally do before a start, and then once you're on the mound tomorrow, will you know after one or two pitches or is it something that's going to take innings to sense how it feels?
MAX SCHERZER: Workouts were a lot different in terms of everything that we were doing, just treatment to it, all the different exercises we were trying to do to strengthen it. You know, this was just a weakness thing, that part -- I found that part of my hamstring was weak. And even though the whole muscle itself is strong, there is a rotational aspect to this that we were able to identify the weakness. Trying to just train through that. Trying to come up with lifts and different things to make sure that's strong.
Coming up -- and also doing some sprint work to help try to build the endurance in that hamstring because that's really our biggest concern. I think I'm very confident as soon as I toe the rubber that, hey, I'm going to be good on pitch one; it's how long can I go without re-injuring this.
That's where we've done everything we can to make sure that I can throw a hundred pitches and not have this happen. When I get on the mound tomorrow, I'm fully anticipating being able to throw a hundred pitches.
Q. Mike Rizzo said that he has tremendous trust in you to be honest and not macho about things. How far does that whole thing go between you, Dusty and him, knowing that you're not going to put yourself in jeopardy and you're not going to put the team in jeopardy at the same point?
MAX SCHERZER: Yeah, I've always been very straightforward when you start dealing with injuries. You always have to communicate with the trainers and the manager and the pitching coach exactly where you're at.
That's where you have to be able to say no; over the course of the season, there's been times where I definitely have said hey, I'm not good to go in this particular instance. Because I feel like if you're able to say no, when you do say yes, that holds a lot more weight to it.
We've had a lot of conversations of what, if anything, were to happen. You know, just the contingency plans of what the communication needs to be and how far they would want me to go. Like I said, I'm feeling a lot better. I feel strong. We've done everything we can to get this thing right, and you know, out there playing catch today, if I stay within my mechanics and throw the ball right, I fully intend to throw a hundred pitches tomorrow.
Q. You're obviously somebody who is in tune with your body. Is that something that in college, you were like that, or has it developed over time? And where does running fit in your kind of conditioning regimen?
MAX SCHERZER: Well, I think it's just the nature of dealing with so many different little ailments throughout the course of my career of different things, of figuring out what part of the body hurts. And what you can't pitch through and figuring out the little things that pop up that you can pitch through, and understanding when you do have ailments, how that affects the ball coming out of your hand.
Because that's the most important thing is how you can deliver the ball and making sure that you stay through the ball because if that -- if anything happens at the release point, that's when -- I've gotten pretty good about feeling if the release point is different. If there's anything different in that release point, really, you're putting yourself at risk of seriously injuring your elbow or shoulder.
But if you can stay through your release point, then you're good to go. And I've had several injuries that I didn't think I could pitch, but I was able to stay through the release point. That knowledge of knowing, feeling your body at different points of ailments, that's allowed my communication to be as good as possible with my managers and trainers.
Q. What about running?
MAX SCHERZER: What part of it?
Q. Are you a distance guy in between starts?
MAX SCHERZER: Everything. Distance, pulls, sprints. I think every facet of running has its benefits towards a starting pitcher. I mean, you're explosive off the mound and yet you've got to have endurance. My running typically mimics that.
Q. You talked about how your season has been frustrating with the dings and dents, some of which have been beyond your control. Given that back drop, what does it mean for you to be able to come through -- your status was uncertain but you're able to take the mound for your team in Game 3, what does that mean for you?
MAX SCHERZER: Like I said, I've kind of been dealing with this stuff all year long. So this isn't anything new, you know, dealing with little ailments. Look, this little ailment, I needed a couple extra days to get this right. I feel I've done everything I can to put the strength in the leg that I need to and I feel like I'm good to go.
Hey, we're in the playoffs. Every game is a must-win. This is going to be a crazy atmosphere here at Wrigley. I can't wait to toe the rubber.
Q. Your record on the road this year was exceptional. What is it you like about pitching on the road, and you mentioned the atmosphere you're expecting. Is there some satisfaction when you're able to quiet down a ballpark like that?
MAX SCHERZER: Yeah, your home/rode splits, one year they could be great and one year they could be bad. You don't put too much stock into that. But when I've been on the road, you know -- like I said, Wieters has been such a great catcher for me this year. We really have a good rapport with each other of how we handle the reports, hitters, everything. He has a great feel for calling a game. We've really meshed well together. Obviously he's had a couple games catching these guys and having the feel, so it's going to be great working with him tomorrow and trying to figure out how we get through this game.
Q. Dusty has been through the Postseason so many times as a player, as a manager. What is he like at this time of year? Is it same as always or what does he bring this time of year?
MAX SCHERZER: Same as always (chuckling). It's Dusty. He's always got a great story for you, somehow, some way. He keeps everybody loose, everybody laughing. Nothing's really changed.
Q. When you look at this Cubs lineup, what specific challenges do they present?
MAX SCHERZER: Without tipping my hand, I think the obvious is there. We've seen where they have got -- where they produce most of their runs. Their top of the order is as good as anybody in baseball. It's going to be just going out there -- it's playoffs. Anybody can beat anybody. Any player can take you deep at any moment in today's ballgame. You just have to go out there and execute pitches.
There's really no secret to this; that everybody's -- they are going to have a game plan against me and I'm going to have a game plan against them. It just comes down to execution. If I can execute pitches and keep the ball out of the middle of the plate, I know I can have success. But if I make mistakes, I know they can take me deep. That's the game.
Q. How was it watching the last two nights, just knowing that originally, you were probably going to start Game 1 or Game 2? How was it knowing you couldn't really help out the first two nights?
MAX SCHERZER: Just knowing that I -- I was chomping at the bit, knowing I was going to get my opportunity to get into the series. Roller coaster two games there. You know, heck of a ballgame, Game 1, and the way we came back in Game 2; that was a crazy eighth inning for us. We got some good momentum on our side. Guys had a little bounce in their step today. So that's what makes it great.
You know, momentum can swing in a heartbeat, in a pitch, in a series. That's why every game matters so much, and that's why every game is like a must-win. I mean, that's playoff baseball. That's baseball at its best. It doesn't matter how you look or how long; everything can change in one pitch, one moment. I mean, that's my experience and that's what makes this game great.