Scherzer on Cruz: Respect, but not fear

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Tigers Game 6 starter Max Scherzer has to face the red-hot Nelson Cruz on Saturday night at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, something that doesn't thrill any opposing pitcher. But Scherzer doesn't plan on holding anything back.

"I realize he's a good hitter and he's hot," said Scherzer on a conference call with reporters on Friday. The Tigers are flying to Texas this afternoon and are not working out. "Given that, you can't fear him. You have to go right after him. The moment you start fearing a hitter or fearing what he can do, you're losing the battle. I have to be aggressive right back towards him."

Cruz is breaking all kinds of records this series. His five home runs in the AL Championship Series are the most by any player in the history of the League Championship Series -- in either league. He has 11 RBIs to go along with the homers and he's just the seventh player in baseball history with at least 11 RBIs in a postseason series.

Cruz has 11 homers in the postseason the last two years and Elias Sports Bureau reports that's the all-time record for one player over a span of two calendar years, beating out Jim Thome's 10 homers for Cleveland in 1998-99. Cruz has also hit for the home run cycle in this series, the first player to do it in the same series and just the second to do it in the same postseason.

"Even though he's hot, if the situation arises, you might have to be more careful," Scherzer said. "My game plan, I guarantee you, going forward will be to be aggressive with him."