Pestering manager results in ‘5 runs in 4 innings’ worst start, Scherzer quick to reflect: “I made a mistake and I got punished”
Max Scherzer (39-Texas Rangers) had a disappointing performance in his return to the postseason.
Texas lost 5-8 to Houston in Game 3 of the American League Championship Series (ALCS) of the 2023 Major League Baseball postseason, best-of-seven, at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas, U.S., on Monday (April 19).
It was a highly anticipated matchup for Texas, which has yet to win a World Series title since its inception in 2011, as it seeks its first World Series appearance in 12 years. The starting pitcher was Scherzer, the long-awaited “championship hitter,” who was in no rush to get the job done.
Those hopes were shattered in the second inning. After striking out the side in the first, Scherzer walked the first batter he faced, Jordan Alvarez, and gave up a single to Kyle Tucker and a double to Mauricio Dubon to load the bases. He got Jeremy Peña to fly out to center field to end the threat, but a wild pitch gave up a run. The deficit quickly grew to three runs when Martin Maldonado, a catcher who hit just .191 in the regular season this year, lined a double to left field.
That wasn’t the end of it, as he gave up a solo shot to left-center field to Jose Altuve in the third and a bases-loaded single to center field to Dubon in the fourth to put Texas down 5-0. He was eventually relieved by Cody Bradford before the top of the fifth, ending his postseason debut with Texas with four innings and five runs (one earned) on five hits, two walks (one hit-by-pitch) and four strikeouts. In the end, Texas couldn’t overcome the deficit in a late rally, falling 5-8 and ending their seven-game postseason winning streak at home. The series is now 2-1.
It was a big game for Scherzer. According to MLB.com statistician Sarah Lang, Scherzer was the second pitcher to start a postseason game for five different organizations. Prior to Texas, Scherzer made postseason starts for the Detroit Tigers, Washington Nationals, Los Angeles Dodgers, and New York Mets, and emerged as a championship pitcher in Washington, leading the Nats to their first World Series title in 2019. The previous pitcher to make a postseason start for five different organizations was David Wells, who pitched for the Cincinnati Reds, Baltimore Orioles, New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox, and San Diego Padres.
However, he never lived up to the hype and instead became a victim of the record party. Altuve’s home run off Scherzer was his 25th of the season, putting him just four shy of the postseason record for most home runs, according to MLB.com. First place is Manny Ramirez’s 29.
He added a seventh-inning single, including one off Scherzer, for his 33rd multi-hit game, tying him with Derek Jeter (58) and Bernie Williams (36) for the most in the postseason. Naturally, his 202nd walk made him the third most prolific postseason hitter behind Jeter (302), Ramirez (223), and Williams (223).
Another hitter, Alvarez, went 2-for-4 with two RBIs, joining Carlos Beltran in 2004 and Alex Rodriguez in 2009 as the only players with five or more home runs, 10 or more RBIs, and 10 or more hits in the first seven games of the postseason. 메이저사이트
Scherzer was a steal at the trade deadline for Texas, which saw this year as the right time to challenge for a championship. The New York Mets signed Scherzer to a three-year, $130 million free-agent contract last year, but he failed to produce for a year and a half. On July 30, they traded him to Texas for infield prospect Luis Angel Acuña, subsidizing all but $22.5 million of Scherzer’s remaining salary.
Once in Texas, Scherzer’s performance was underwhelming. In eight starts, he went 4-2 with a 3.20 ERA and 45 strikeouts to 53 walks before being placed on the disabled list on March 14 with right shoulder and arm muscle soreness, ending his regular season. For Scherzer, this was a golden opportunity to redeem himself. Texas head coach Bruce Bochy announced him as the Game 3 starter, saying, “Schuerzer is ready for Game 3. He’s very excited and he’s been bugging me that he’s healthy,” he laughed.
The former three-time World Series champion, who is credited with transforming Texas into a winning team, continued to try to keep Scherzer’s spirits up after the game. “He’s been back from injury for a month now,” Bochy said. We were disappointed with the result, but we were happy with the overall performance. He’ll be better in the future and we have no regrets about starting him in Game 3.”
If the series goes the distance, Scherzer could start Game 6. If it’s over before then, he could be tasked with starting Game 1 of the World Series. After the embarrassing loss, he chose to focus on the positive.
After the game, Scherzer said, “We had a bad outcome. I admit it. I made some mistakes and I was punished,” he said, quickly reflecting, “but there were things I could adjust (my slider) and things I did well. Physically, I felt really good. My arm felt good, and I’m going to be more focused for the rest of the tournament.”