Scherzer reflects on impressive outing
Rookie strikes out 11 Dodgers in first start since May 17
SAN FRANCISCO -- Max Scherzer could only chuckle when he heard what Dodgers catcher Russell Martin told reporters about a pitch the rookie struck him out on to end the fifth inning Sunday.
The pitch dove down and in to the right-handed-hitting Martin, and he flailed at it. The television camera caught him asking himself what the pitch was. It was something that Scherzer saw as he walked back towards the dugout.
"I don't even know what the pitch was," Martin said. "I think it was something illegal. It went around me. A scuff [ball] or something."
Martin was kidding, of course; he knew what the pitch was.
"It's a changeup," he said. "I'm not going to hit that. I shouldn't have swung."
What makes the comments funny to Scherzer is that his changeup usually does not have that much lateral movement. It usually just goes down, but his hand got inside the ball more than usual on the pitch. In fact, when it left his hand, he thought it was going to hit Martin.
Scherzer, in his first big league start since May 17, didn't get a decision as the D-backs fell, 5-3. Still, the right-hander was impressive in striking out 11 in his five-plus innings of work in what was a vital game for Arizona.
"I did know how big this game was," Scherzer said. "I've been following the Diamondbacks all season even when I was in the Minors. For me, that doesn't change anything. The mound is still 60 feet, 6 inches away; I'm going out there and throwing the ball. It doesn't matter what else is on the line."
The Dodgers touched him for two runs in the first inning when James Loney managed to flare a 99 mph offering -- the D-backs gun was a bit slower and had Scherzer topping out at 97 -- into shallow center despite shattering his bat.
"It happens," Scherzer said. "It's part of the game. The ball got away and two runs scored. Being a starter, that's going to happen. You can't really let that stuff get under your skin. It's all about going out there and continuing to execute pitches and continuing to throw strikes."
Throwing strikes was not a problem for Scherzer, as 61 of his 94 pitches were stikes.
It's possible that Scherzer could slide into Yusmeiro Petit's spot Sunday, but Arizona manager Bob Melvin was hesitant to say Petit was pitching for his job Monday in San Francisco.
"We'll have some internal discussions leading up to that and do what we think is best for the next start," Melvin said. "Yusmeiro has done a nice job too. [Scherzer]'s a dominant guy, no doubt about it."
Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.