BOSTON – Max Scherzer said it does not matter that he went 21-3 this season with a 2.90 ERA and is the likely American League Cy Young Award winner.

Whether he’s at the top of his game in 2013, or back in 2008 when he was a Diamondbacks rookie, Scherzer brings the same attitude to the mound.

“My confidence level has always been the same from the day I arrived into the big leagues to now,” he said. “I believe confidence is a choice. And I always choose to believe that I’m going to come out on top.”

A confident Scherzer takes the mound Sunday night for the Tigers. While he came out on top nearly every start, one of those three losses was courtesy of the Red Sox on Sept. 3.

Scherzer allowed only five hits but three came in the fifth inning, capped by Will Middlebrooks’ two-run single. That was the difference in a 2-1 Boston win.

“They’re just a great team,” Scherzer said. “They can grind out (at-bats) They don’t chase a lot. It comes down to attacking the hitters and making sure I’m working ahead in the count.”

BOSTON WILL LIKELY alter its lineup against Scherzer. Manager John Farrell said it will all depend on matchups.

“The depth of our roster has been a main contributor to the success of our team,” Farrell said.

Right-handed Jonny Gomes is 2 for 3 against Scherzer this season and will likely start in left field. Switch-hitter Daniel Nava is 1 for 9 lifetime against Scherzer. Left-handed Mike Carp, who is only 2 for 8 against Scherzer, may still start at first. Mike Napoli is 1 for 13 against Scherzer.

CLAY BUCHHOLZ opposes the Tigers on Sunday night. He is almost completely recovered from the inflammation in his collarbone area that sidelined him for three months.

“Still building his stamina and endurance,” Farrell said. “But the touch and feel to secondary pitches are consistent to pre-injury.”

When Buchholz got off to a 9-0 start with a 1.71 ERA, he got attention, including from the pitcher he is facing Sunday.

“He was pitching absolutely lights out,” Scherzer said. “He’s able to do a lot of different things with all his pitches. It’s unfortunate he suffered an injury.

“But I did catch him when was he was pitching against Tampa. I think he’s back and he’s going to bring his A stuff, so I’m going to have to match him.”

QUINTIN BERRY was with Detroit last year and is now with Boston, ready to utilize his base-stealing as a pinch runner.

“The reason he is good is because he’s one of those guys that can steal a base when everybody in the ballpark knows he’s going to go,” Detroit Manager Jim Leyland said.

JOSE IGLESIAS SHOULD be a big part of Detroit’s future but is still developing.

“I think people have a tendency to forget how young (23) he is,” Leyland said. “He’s a very energetic player, sometimes too energetic, with a terrific, terrific future.

“We all know about his defensive ability. I think he’s going to be a good hitter at some point. Probably swings too much like a big man right now.”

PORTLAND SEA DOGS fans missed seeing Miguel Cabrera at Hadlock Field by one year. Cabrera was a rising prospect in the Florida Marlins’ system and slated to join their Double-A minor league team in 2003.

But that was the year the Sea Dogs switched affiliates from Florida to Boston. Cabrera went on to play for the Carolina Mudcats in the Southern League.

Kevin Thomas can be contacted at 791-6411 or at:

[email protected]

Twitter: ClearTheBases


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