WASHINGTON — What happens when a batter takes his sweet time getting set for each pitch of his every at-bat in a ballgame?
Max Scherzer happens.
One week ago, Scherzer quick-pitched Phillies center fielder Odubel Herrera for a backwards K with the Nationals leading 7-3 in the top of the fifth inning. Herrera barely saw the pitch coming, and as soon as he did, instincts caused him to scurry out of the batter’s box.
“You just know that he takes a lot of time in between pitches,” Scherzer said during his regular 106.7 The Fan segment — “On the Mound with Max Scherzer,” presented by Dulles Motors.
“In the first at-bat, I was left sitting there waiting — I’m on the mound ready to go — on a lot of his practice swings,” he explained. “That’s what I told [Matt] Wieters. Like, ‘Hey, look. We know the rules. If there’s two feet in the box, you can go. And if I see him do that, I’m just going to go. Just know that if I fire, I’m just throwing a fastball.'”
“So when he came up I think the third time through, I knew when we got to a 1-2 count, I knew it was a perfect time to try to execute this,” he said.
“I kind of had seen his routine of, in between pitches, how he swings the bat a lot. And so, as soon as he got two feet down, as soon as the foot was down, and his head’s looking down, that’s when you just go. And, sure enough, it worked.”
“Hey, if you’re gonna have a lot of practice swings like that, you better be ready,” he said. “Because there’s rules in the book that say as soon as you have two feet in, you can go.”