Tigers pregame notes: Max Scherzer preps for Game 2; Jim Leyland not worried about Jhonny Peralta in left field

October 12, 2013 - 3:07 pm
Max Scherzer was in a really good mood Saturday afternoon, and it had nothing to do with his Tigers making it the ALCS for the third year in a row, his potentially Cy Young Award-winning regular season or his looming start Sunday night. The 6-foot-3, 220-pound righty stepped up to the podium in the interview room proudly adorning donning two numbers on his Tigers hoodie: 41-26, the score by which 25th-ranked Mizzou '€” where Scherzer played college ball '€” topped seventh-ranked Georgia earlier that afternoon. '€œI'€™m definitely going to be talking loud today,'€ Scherzer said with a smile. While Saturday was all fun and games, Game 2 Sunday will be anything but for Scherzer, the owner of a 2.90 ERA and 0.97 WHIP in 2013. He will oppose Sox right-hander Clay Buchholz five days after picking up the win over the Athletics in Game 4 of the ALDS with two innings of relief. Despite the unorthodox appearance '€” it was just his second major league relief appearance since 2008 '€” Scherzer isn'€™t worried about being off his game. He noted that he will be on normal rest, and he has been in his regular routine since pitching on Tuesday. '€œI'€™m fully ready to go,'€ Scherzer said. '€œArm feels good. My relief appearance was just needed.'€ Scherzer allowed a combined three runs in nine innings over his two ALDS games, including the Game 1 start, and Tigers manager Jim Leyland wasn'€™t too keen about putting him back in the '€˜pen. The Sox plated four runs in 14 innings (two games) against Scherzer in 2013. In his six-year major league career, Scherzer has posted a 7.02 ERA and 1.63 WHIP across eight starts against the Red Sox. He knows their tactics pretty well '€” grinding out at-bats, disrupting a hurler'€™s tempo on the basepaths '€” and is prepared to counter. '€œFor me it comes down to the simple fact I'€™ve got to change my timing,'€ Scherzer said of the Sox'€™ tendency to steal bases. '€œI like to hold the ball, I think that disrupts the base runners. You'€™ve got to be quick to the plate and you'€™ve got to change all different aspects of it. You can'€™t be repetitive, because they can just time you and figure you out. '€œIt all comes down to attacking the hitters and making sure I'€™m working ahead in the count. '€¦ If I don'€™t do that, it'€™s going to make it extremely uphill battle for me.'€ OTHER TIGERS NOTES -- Leyland said he'€™s not worried about Jhonny Peralta, a shortstop by trade who manned left field in the ALDS following the return from his 50-game suspension stemming from the Biogenesis investigation, handling the Green Monster. Peralta is playing left and batting sixth for the Tigers Saturday. '€œWe'€™re not making too big a deal out of that,'€ Leyland said. '€œIt is a little tricky to play the wall. And the Red Sox do that better because they'€™re used to it. As far as getting carried away, talking about the ladder, that'€™s ridiculous, nobody knows what it'€™s going to do when it hits that thing. Just do the best you can.'€ -- Although both Leyland and Sox manager John Farrell said the series will largely be determined by starting pitching, the Tigers boss gave Boston the edge in terms of getting the ball from the starter to the closer. '€œThey might have a little more depth, maybe,'€ Leyland said. '€œMaybe a slight edge in getting to that point, although I feel very comfortable with our bullpen.'€ In the regular season, Detroit relievers posted a 4.01 ERA and 1.34 WHIP while striking out more than a batter per inning. Leyland, like Farrell, had problems filling the closer role early, but Joaquin Benoit took over in June. He posted a 1.73 ERA and 1.05 WHIP in save situations, and his only two blown saves came in the final week of the regular season. -- In accordance with standard operating procedures for any series, the Tigers met with their advanced scouts Friday to get the low-down on their ALCS apponent. But after a 162-game regular season, including seven matchups between these two teams, and an ALDS apiece, there isn'€™t a whole lot to hide, Leyland noted. '€œThey know that [Miguel] Cabrera is a pretty good hitter and we know that Big Papi [David Ortiz] is a pretty good hitter,'€ he said. '€œThere'€™s really no secrets this time of year.'€