ANAHEIM -- The fastball felt the same as the last one and all the others earlier in the night, but Max Scherzer's strikeout pitch to Chris Iannetta in the eighth inning Friday night was a first. On a pitch to Iannetta, his 98th of the game, Scherzer was clocked at 101 mph by the radar gun at Angel Stadium to mark the first time he believes he has ever hit triple digits.
"I didn't see it," the Tigers right-hander said. "Some guys came up during the game and told me I hit 101. I haven't been up there before. Even if the gun is plus one, it's still 100, so I'll take it."
Scherzer said he threw the pitch as hard as he could, which, he added, he does a lot of times and that it didn't feel any different from usual. Manager Jim Leyland couldn't remember whether he'd seen the pitcher throw that fast, but acknowledged that guns are different at every park.
Regardless, the skipper was more than impressed with the start and said he was really "letting it fly." Scherzer was taken out at the end of the inning after punching out nine Angels and throwing 110 pitches.
"He's not going back out in the ninth after he threw 101 mph in the eighth after throwing 105 or 110 pitches," Leyland said.
Scherzer paces himself throughout a game to make sure his velocity doesn't dip when his pitch count rises. That was clearly the case on Friday.
"I believe your last 15 pitches in a start, most of the time, define the start," he said. "Regardless of what happens, I really want to have my best bullets late. I focus on making sure I can throw my hardest pitch the last pitch of the game."