Scherzer-Posey matchups go back to 2012 World Series originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea
LOS ANGELES -- When Buster Posey nearly crushed a homer into McCovey Cove in Game 1, he made the slow jog around the bases in a postseason game for the first time since Game 4 of the 2012 World Series. That previous blast came against the pitcher Posey will see Monday night.
Nine years after they beat him as a Detroit Tiger, the Giants will try to top Max Scherzer, the Los Angeles Dodgers' blockbuster addition, in Game 3 of the National League Division Series. Scherzer on Sunday did not seem particularly surprised that he'll be facing a Giants team still led by Posey and Brandon Crawford, who were in the lineup for his World Series start nearly a decade ago. He called Posey a "great hitter (who) knows what he's doing at the plate."
"I think we've traded paint," Scherzer said. "He's got me, I've gotten him. So it should be a good matchup."
Posey got the best of Scherzer on the biggest stage, crushing a changeup to give the Giants the lead in a game that would end up clinching a sweep and the second title in three years. Scherzer has spent most of his time since then as one of the best pitchers in the National League, and he has certainly had Posey's number since the World Series. In 12 regular season at-bats against Scherzer, Posey has one hit and three strikeouts.
The Giants saw Scherzer earlier this year, but just for six pitches. He got hurt in the first inning of a start at Nationals Park on June 11, and seven weeks later he was dealt to the Dodgers. They have won all 12 of his starts, including Wednesday's Wild Card Game, although Scherzer hasn't pitched well in the last three. He said Sunday that he thinks he has cleaned up a mechanical issue in his lower half to solve his recent issues, but he knows the Giants will challenge him Monday.
"They just have different ways to beat you with different types of bats -- righties, lefties," Scherzer said. "Their bats right now are (Kris) Bryant and Crawford and Posey. I mean, that's the heart of their order and they're getting a lot of production out of it. And then the bats that surround (them) as well, so they present challenges to you. You have to execute every pitch that you throw because if you make mistakes against this team -- they led the league in homers for a reason, so obviously they can take it deep if you make a mistake."
Scherzer had to wait seven years after the 2012 postseason to get another great chance at a ring. He won it all with the Washington Nationals in 2019, but he believes he should have gotten to the finish line earlier. Asked what he remembers about that 2012 World Series, he said the guys from the Tigers teams in 2012, 2013 and 2014 look back and can't believe they never won it all.
The 2012 team was heavily favored over the Giants, with Scherzer joining Justin Verlander, Doug Fister and Anibal Sanchez in the rotation. Pablo Sandoval stunned Verlander in Game 1 and the Giants followed that up with three nail-biting wins.
"Unfortunately we had one shot at it, (and we weren't) able to get it done," Scherzer said. "But we had some great, great teams there in Detroit."