How the Dodgers can beat Max Scherzer in Game 4

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - OCTOBER 04: Max Scherzer #31 of the Washington Nationals pitches in relief in the eighth inning in game two of the National League Division Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium on October 04, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - OCTOBER 04: Max Scherzer #31 of the Washington Nationals pitches in relief in the eighth inning in game two of the National League Division Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium on October 04, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) /
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NEW YORK, NY – MAY 17: Max Scherzer #31 of the Washington Nationals reacts as Curtis Granderson #3 of the New York Mets rounds third after a solo home run in the first inning at Citi Field on May 17, 2016 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /

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.

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