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Scherzer uses curveball to keep Sox guessing

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BOSTON -- Max Scherzer joined the Tigers four years ago as a fastball-changeup pitcher who had the makings of a nice slider. It would have been inconceivable back then that he could overcome a changeup on a night that he was having a hard time fooling anyone with the pitch.

On Friday, Scherzer threw the Red Sox a curveball, literally. Actually, he threw quite a few of them.

That Scherzer has trust in his curve is no big surprise. Getting better results on it than his changeup is another matter.

Scherzer did not get a swing-and-miss off his changeup Friday, according to brooksbaseball.net. That's the first time he has come up empty in that category since his last regular-season start in Boston last Sept. 3. On the flip side, his three whiffs on curveballs are more than he has gotten from that pitch in his career. As good as the curveball has become for him, it has usually been good for one or two swings-and-misses a game.

"His curveball was really good last night," pitching coach Jeff Jones said. "He threw some good curveballs that they chased later on in the count. What he wants to do with it is throw it with two strikes. I think his curveball was probably a little bit better than his changeup was, and usually his changeup is always really good.

"That's the nice thing about having a curveball now. I've always felt that the more weapons you have, the better."

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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