Which pitches to target off Scherzer
When going through the game logs, I noticed Scherzer has had some trouble in his last seven regular-season starts, and of course in the Wild Card game start versus the Milwaukee Brewers.
In general, Scherzer throws his fastball around 50% of the time, the slider 20%, the changeup 15% and the cutter and curveball around 10% each. But when he’s struggled, it’s been when he’s allowed home runs and when he throws less fastballs.
In his three worst starts of September, in which he allowed five home runs and gave up 13 earned runs in 18.2 innings, he threw his fastball only 43% of the time. This meant he threw more of his offspeed, which seems to be the best way to get a hold of the seven-time All-Star. In the month of September he compiled 29.2 innings while allowing 17 earned runs thanks to six home runs and six walks, though he did punch out 43.
While his fastball and slider both have pitch values near the top of the charts, his curveball, cutter, and changeup all are nearly neutral pitches, or worse. In those three bad September starts I cited earlier, Scherzer generated 45 swings and misses; while 32 of them came on fastballs and sliders, only 13 came on curves, cutters, and changeups.
If the Dodgers can either hit the fastball and slider well enough to force him to increase his usage in the secondary stuff or if he continues this trend from his past starts, the Dodgers will have a chance to do some damage.