The Los Angeles Dodgers and Detroit Tigers are in the best and worst case scenarios right now. Since the Dodgers and Tigers are down by 3-2 in their LCS series, things look pretty bad for them. But by a seemingly fortunate twist, both Los Angeles and Detroit have future Cy Young winners in wait to save them in their respective Game 6’s.
The Dodgers already knew they needed Clayton Kershaw to prevent elimination against the St. Louis Cardinals on Oct. 18. As for the Tigers, they hoped that Max Scherzer could be in position to clinch the ALCS over the Boston Red Sox on Oct. 19. Yet thanks to the Red Sox’s 4-3 win in Game 5 on Oct. 17, Scherzer now has to save the Tigers from elimination too.
By this time next month, Kershaw and Scherzer will likely be the two Cy Young winners of 2013. However, their seasons will be defined by what they do in the next two days, rather than the past six months.
Kershaw is 0-1 in the NLCS, but that was mainly due to the Dodgers’ lack of offense against Michael Wacha in Game 2. With Wacha set to duel him again in Game 6, Kershaw has to be prepared for another night with a limited margin for error. But since Los Angeles finally woke up for four home runs in Game 5, perhaps it is ready to slug out a win or two.
As for Scherzer, he had a win in his last start well in hand, until the Tigers’ bullpen blew Game 2 and perhaps the entire series. Thanks to that collapse, the Red Sox rode the momentum to take two of three games in Detroit, and now they have two chances to win it all in Boston. Yet with Scherzer and Justin Verlander pitching those final two games, the Tigers have the best chance possible to still steal this series.
To get to Verlander and a Game 7, the Tigers need Scherzer to be the Cy Young ace he has been all year, much like the Dodgers need Kershaw. On paper, Los Angeles and Detroit couldn’t be in a better position to save themselves and force a Game 7 -- but that’s only if Kershaw and Scherzer are themselves. After they both set the bar for pitching all season, this would be the worst time to let up now.