A key contributor since coming to Detroit in 2010, Scherzer has developed into an ace this season. Last Saturday he became the first pitcher to start 11--0 since Roger Clemens in 1997.
DAN PATRICK: On your off days, can you sneak away and watch other sports, like the NBA or NHL playoffs, during a game?
July 1, 2013
MAX SCHERZER: Of course. That happens all the time. Guys want updates.
DP: So teammates use you as an information guy?
MS: Yeah, we'll find a way to sneak up there and get a bite to eat and find out a score.
DP: All that free food in the clubhouse must be tempting.
MS: In the kitchen there are these Panera potato chips. That's my kryptonite.
DP: Back in Arizona you seemed like just a hard thrower. What's changed?
MS: When I first got called up, I had a good feel for my changeup and my fastball. A big thing last year was to develop my slider. That gave me three pitches to work with. That was a big reason I had a good 2012.
DP: What about taking the next step this year?
MS: One thing I did notice is that a lot of lefthanders were hitting me pretty hard. My slider played into their bat speed. Last year I started throwing a curveball. A couple of starts into this season I made an adjustment to my grip that helped me be consistent with that pitch. Now I have three pitches for lefthanded hitters.
DP: Who's your toughest out?
MS: Shin-Soo Choo. That was my favorite thing of the whole off-season, when he got traded from the Indians to the Reds. That made my year. He looks very good in a Cincinnati uniform.
DP: What would it mean to start in the All-Star Game?
MS: That would be a huge accomplishment.
DP: What do you use as motivation?
MS: I pitch my best when I'm pitching on adrenaline and with a chip on my shoulder.
DP: With this kind of start, is there a danger you'll relax?
MS: The moment you relax for one second this game will come up and bite you in the butt. You always have to be on your toes. In starts I usually don't talk to many people. If I start talking to Miguel Cabrera for just a couple of seconds, it always feels like the next thing I do is go out there and give up two runs.
DP: Is there one particularly humbling home run you remember?
MS: David Ortiz hit a shot against me a few years back. I threw a fastball, and he probably hit it 550 feet here in Detroit. I was like, Is my fastball really not that good right now?
DP: Do you look at the ball as it's going out?
MS: No, no, no. I was just like, Let's not think about that one.
DP: Greg Maddux said he'd rather give up a bomb than one that just trickles over the fence.
MS: No, I don't want to give up a bomb. Why would I want to give up a mammo shot? I want one that just trickles over so then I can be mad and say it's the ballpark's fault. Place the blame somewhere else instead of putting it on myself.
"I started out being very negative because I thought he should have had communication with our own government about whether to do it. But Dennis and the [TV] crew are probably the only Americans that have had contact with Kim Jong-un. I don't know that that's a bad thing."
—DAVID STERN, NBA commissioner, on Dennis Rodman's visit to North Korea
Dwyane Wade told me he won't let nagging injuries redefine his game. "I'm not going to turn into Steve Kerr," Wade said. "Being an attacker and aggressive—that's what I'm going to be until I can't anymore." ... ESPN's Bill Simmons talked about controlling his nerves while on set with LeBron James right after the Heat won the title. "You have to feel like he's just another guy," Simmons said. "If I'm going, Oh, my God, I'm talking to one of the 10 greatest players of all time, and he just won his second Finals MVP, and I'm part of history right now—I think I would have gotten scared." ... I asked Raiders punter and first-time author Chris Kluwe if the Vikings released him because he was outspoken. "That might be a second book," Kluwe said. "All I can do is trust in what I've done on the field, which has meant being the best punter the Vikings have had over the last eight years." ... Wes Welker aired one grievance he has with Tom Brady. "He does these radical things with his hair," Welker said. "I'm like, There's no way this is going to become a fad. The next thing, all the kids are cutting their hair like that."