SEATTLE -- Like Justin Verlander, Max Scherzer doesn't like to say he's pitching against another team's ace. He didn't have to face Felix Hernandez face-to-face Wednesday night, that was the hitters' job.
Yet he knew going in that he was going to have to match Hernandez to give his team a chance. He pulled it off by delivering much the same repertoire that makes Hernandez so nasty.
"I was able to start getting all three pitches to work," Scherzer said. "Fastball, slider, changeup, I was able to start throwing them for strikes and then start moving them out of the zone. That gave [catcher Brayan] Pena some flexibility to get creative in the pitch-calling. He did a great job back there, what pitch to throw in what situation. We got in a good rhythm, a good roll and I was able to put together a good outing to keep us competitive in that game."
Unlike some other outings by Tigers starters this year, Scherzer was able to maintain that rhythm in large part because Hernandez was so nasty. With little time in the dugout between innings, Scherzer was able to get just enough time to rest up, but not enough time to fall out of his mechanics.
Tigers players and coaches were still raving on Thursday morning about Hernandez. Manager Jim Leyland went so far as to say that's the best he has seen King Felix against his team, a thought hitting coach Lloyd McClendon seconded.