When Max Scherzer made his Los Angeles Dodgers debut it came in front of an electric crowd at Dodger Stadium that already was in a frenzy over the game being against the Houston Astros.
Scherzer drew off that energy and was appreciative of what he called the first curtain call of his career. The future Hall of Famer is renowned for pitching at a high intensity level in any situation, but struggles against the New York Mets on Saturday called for reining that in.
“Usually when the crowd gets loud, the adrenaline brings you to life. But today wasn’t those situations where I felt that would’ve benefitted me,” Scherzer said after the Dodgers’ 4-3 win against the Mets.
He was specifically asked whether or not the fans’ rising to their feet with two outs and the bases loaded in the fifth inning was something that could be felt on the field.
“I actually had to stay more composed than usual because my fastball was leaking arm side on me. I knew I needed to just stay within myself and execute to keep that ball in the zone,” Scherzer added.
“I felt like that’s what happened in the Alonso at-bat, why that ball got away from me and hit him in the elbow. When it did come back with J.D., I just wanted to trust myself to not get over-amped up and lose that batter as well.”
In not allowing the crowd’s emotions to fuel him, Scherzer battled J.D. Davis for a six-pitch at-bat that ended with a strikeout. It allowed the right-hander to keep the damage to just Brandon Nimmo’s two-out solo home run.
“Everything kind of got sideways on me at the end,” Scherzer said of his outing. “Two outs, nobody on, all of a sudden turned into a solo shot, double, hit by pitch, walk. Things were kind of spinning out of control. In that situation you just want to try to execute and get the out.
“As things are kind of going sideways, just collect yourself and execute the pitches that you need to. I’d thrown J.D. Davis some good sliders early in the game, and in that situation wanted to try to get a heater by him. Fortunately enough I was.”
Scherzer felt off
Excluding a rain-shortened outing, Scherzer’s start against the Mets was his shortest of the season since being chased by the San Diego Padres in the fourth inning on July 8.
“I just thought I was a click off. I didn’t feel like I had great fastball location, wasn’t able to land a curveball for a strike really,” he said. “It felt like that was kind of the reason my pitch count was a little bit up. It led to some inefficiencies, but it’s always a grind.
“Any time you face Major League hitters, it’s a grind. You’ve just got to find a way to execute a pitch when you need to. For the most part I was able to do that and avoid the big inning. When you can avoid the big inning, especially when you have a lead, that’s always a good thing.
“I’d like to pitch deeper into the game. I don’t want to just be a five-and-dive guy. I want to pitch deep into a game. There’s good things that came out of this start, some bad things I’ll look at, and just make the adjustment. Get back in the rhythm of things and go back out there in five days.”
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