Scherzer: 'I believe confidence is a choice'

BOSTON -- Whether it’s a start in Game 1 of the ALDS, a relief appearance in Game 4 or starting Game 2 of the ALCS, it doesn’t matter to Detroit Tigers starter Max Scherzer. Just hand him the ball.

“Even in Game 5 [of the ALDS], if they wanted to give me the ball just for an inning I was ready,” Scherzer said. “At this point in the season, if your arm is tired or anything, you’re going to go out there.

“I believe confidence is a choice. And I always choose to believe that I always going to come out on top.”

Which is why pitching against starter Clay Buchholz and the Red Sox’s talented offense on Sunday night has put no fear into his mind.

“I’m on my normal rest pitching Game 2 so I’m fully ready to go,” the 29-year-old said.

Pitching with just a little more than his normal rest in Game 1 of the ALDS against the Oakland Athletics, Scherzer dominated, striking out 11 and allowing only two runs in seven innings pitched. Even his Game 4 relief appearance showcased his power stuff, as he escaped a bases-loaded, no-out jam by striking out two before getting a line drive out to center to end the inning.

“I’m one manager that never had a lot of luck with that, bringing a starter out of the bullpen. Obviously I had to do it the other night,” Tigers skipper Jim Leyland said. “We left him in with the bases-loaded because he’s a strikeout guy and that’s exactly what he did.”

Facing the Red Sox, Scherzer will have to deal with a much more dynamic offense, mainly in the form of Boston’s stolen base success (45 consecutive stolen bases before Daniel Nava was caught stealing in the eighth inning of ALDS Game 4 against the Tampa Bay Rays).

“I know Boston does that. That’s why they create so many runs,” Scherzer said. “For me, it comes down to the simple fact that I’ve got to change my timing. I like to hold the ball, I think that disrupts the base runners.”

Like they have all season long (26-7 in Scherzer’s 33 starts, regular season and playoffs combined), the Tigers will be happy to have Scherzer holding the ball come the start of Game 2.

“Sometimes guys get on a roll,” Leyland said of Scherzer’s success. “And that’s the type of year he’s had.”