BOSTON -- It sounds a little tough to believe, but Max Scherzer says his confidence level wasn't any higher during what is likely to be a Cy Young season than in the past.
Remember, the Detroit right-hander went 21-3 during the regular season and then posted two of the Tigers' three wins over Oakland in the American League Division Series, one of them in relief in Game 4. But he says he really is the same guy confidence-wise.
Asked if his confidence grew this season, Scherzer said, "Absolutely not. My confidence level has always been the same from the day I arrived in the big leagues to now. I believe confidence is a choice. And I always choose to believe that I'm always going to come out on top."
Tigers manager Jim Leyland said, "In sports, guys get on a roll from time to time, and he's been on a positive roll. He comes in relief the other day and he gets the win. After winning 22 games, he comes in and gets another one out of the bullpen. Sometimes guys get on a roll, and that's the type of year he's had."
Boston Game 2 starter Clay Buchholz missed more than the three months he was out with shoulder and back troubles. He also missed what likely would have been a battle with Scherzer for the American League Cy Young Award.
Buchholz was 9-0 with a 1.71 ERA when he went down in June. He didn't return until September, when he went 3-1 before getting a no-decision with a six-inning effort at Tampa Bay in Game 3 of the ALDS.
"There was definitely a time where I wasn't sure if I was going to be able to be ME," Buchholz said. "But from the point I went and saw Dr. (James) Andrews to now it's been ... he was basically on point with everything he said."
NOTES: Leyland said he wasn't worried about SS Jhonny Peralta playing left field and the quirky Green Monster. "We're not making too big a deal of that," he said. ... A steady mist fell through the late afternoon but had stopped by game time. ... Game 1 starters Jon Lester and Anibal Sanchez were teammates at Portland in the Red Sox system in 2005 before Sanchez went to the Florida Marlins with Hanley Ramirez in the deal that brought Josh Beckett and Mike Lowell to Boston. ... One other Scherzer tidbit from his media conference before the game: He said he learned of the three-way deal that sent him from Arizona to Detroit in 2009 through text messages and the crawl at the bottom of the ESPN site. No one from the Diamondbacks called to tell him about his move. ... Former Red Sox SS Nomar Garciaparra threw out the first ball.