ANAHEIM -- Normally, starting pitchers spend the day before a start simply keeping their arm fresh, putting the finishing touches on their game plan rather than working on anything major. Max Scherzer, however, had a changeup to his plan Thursday, literally.
He credits that pitch with making a difference for him in the Tigers' 6-4 victory over the Angels that night.
"I made an adjustment [Wednesday] on my changeup I've been searching for," he said. "I haven't been getting the swings and misses I've been looking for on that pitch. I made a little adjustment on my grip, and I felt like I had a lot more consistency with it and it had a lot more downward action, and I was able to collect some swings and misses and strikeouts with that pitch."
Scherzer threw 19 changeups Thursday, according to data from MLB.com's Gameday program and brooksbaseball.net. Angels hitters missed on four of their 10 swings against it, as many whiffs as he drew from 54 fastballs and more than he drew from 19 sliders.
For the season, Scherzer has gotten swings and misses on just under a third of his changeups -- 32.8 percent -- including 23 percent of the changeups he has thrown in the strike zone, according to STATS. Both rates are up from last season.