Tigers right-hander Max Scherzer and San Francisco righty Matt Cain didn’t need to know the outcome of Saturday’s World Series game to understand that when they take the mound Sunday the stakes will be high.
Both starters couldn’t wait to take advantage of an opportunity to give their team a much-needed – or must-have victory – on Sunday night in Game 4.
”I absolutely relish it,” Scherzer said. ”This is the start of a lifetime to be able to pitch in the World Series.”
The pressue will be on for Scherzer after the Giants took a 3-0 lead in the seven-game series with a win in Game 3 on Saturday night.
”You try to trick yourself into thinking it’s another game, but you know what’s going on,” Cain said. ”Your mind and your body, they know what’s going on. They know it’s going to be a big game in the World Series, whether we’re up 3-0 or 2-1.”
Both teams probably like their chances with the starters they’ll have in the game.
Scherzer, who was 16-7 in the regular season with 231 strikeouts that trailed only teammate Justin Verlander’s baseball-leading total, is 0-1 with an 0.82 ERA this postseason.
He was on pace for a victory in Game 4 of the AL division series against the Oakland Athletics until Jose Valverde blew the lead in the ninth inning. Scherzer allowed one run in 5 2-3 innings of Detroit’s AL pennant-clinching win over the New York Yankees.
By starting on Sunday, Scherzer will have pitched Game 4 of all three postseason series.
Cain, meanwhile, hasn’t been quite as sharp in the playoffs as he was during the regular season.
He is 2-2 with a 3.52 ERA in the postseason after throwing a perfect game in June and going 16-5 with a 2.79 ERA for the season.
Cain pitched 5 2-3 scoreless innings and drove in a run to help San Francisco beat St. Louis in Game 7 of the NLCS after giving up three runs in each of his first three postseason starts.