LINK: Max Scherzer’s Dance With Death

I’m going to let you in on a little bit of a secret; writing about baseball for a living, in October, can be kind of difficult. Not because topics are hard to find — the playoffs hand us ideas on a silver platter — or because the samples are too small for us to be able to really forecast anything with certainty, but because the rise of the internet has empowered multiple websites to employ very talented writers, and we’re all watching the same thing at the same time.

In the regular season, there’s always a large diversity of events happening, so we can find our own little niche and write about something that hasn’t been widely covered. In the postseason, though, there’s usually only a couple of games going on on any given day, and those games often have specific moments that work really well for in depth analysis. And because there are so many good baseball writers watching those same moments, it can become a bit of a race to see who can produce a quality take that basically erases the need to read any other take on that event.

Last night’s event was Max Scherzer loading the bases with no one out, and then getting out of it, protecting a one run lead in the process. It’s the kind of moment that basically demands to be written about. Except, you know, Grant Brisbee at Baseball Nation basically cornered the market on analyzing that inning:

On Tuesday, Max Scherzer was a setup man. He was not a very good setup man for three batters, and then he turned into the very best setup man. With a one-run lead, Scherzer loaded the bases with no outs (with the last runner coming via an intentional walk). A fly ball would have tied the game. A double-play grounder would have tied the game. Scherzer needed strikeouts.

You’re reading this because Scherzer got strikeouts. And in 2058, everything will be different because of it. It’s like a big ol’ episode of Sliders, but with more sliders.

Actually, Scherzer didn’t throw any sliders. He threw two different types of pitches, and 29 pitches in the inning. The last 17 got him out of the inning and kept the Tigers’ season alive. Here are screenshots of those last 17 pitches.

And then there’s screenshots (and some GIFs) of all 17 pitches, so if you missed it live, you can basically watch it again in still life.

And now the rest of us who do this for a living are left to say, “yeah, what he said.” So, kudos to Grant for a good piece on a big situation. We’ll get you next time, Baseball Nation.



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Dave is the Managing Editor of FanGraphs.


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