Dodgers News: Max Scherzer Pitched On ‘Pins And Needles’ In NL Wild Card Game
Max Scherzer, 2021 National League Wild Card Game
Robert Hanashiro/USA TODAY Sports

Max Scherzer didn’t have his best stuff, but he again was picked up by the bullpen and Chris Taylor’s walk-off home run that propelled the Los Angeles Dodgers to a 3-1 win over the St. Louis Cardinals in the National League Wild Card Game.

Scherzer struggled with his command right out of the gate as he allowed the Cardinals to take a 1-0 lead on a wild pitch in the top of the first inning.

The right-hander made it a priority from that point on to keep the deficit at one, and he did just that by holding the Cardinals scoreless over his final 3.1 innings. “I was just pitching on pins and needles,” Scherzer said after the game.

“I gave up that early run in the first and in my mind was just keep it to a one-run game. Then it became a tie game. You don’t want to give up another run at that point.

“A lot of your pitches that you’re trying to execute, you’re on pins and needles trying to make sure you’re not making a mistake and give up a homer. You just go out there and grind, no matter what the situation is, no matter what’s in front of you.

“You don’t get too high, you don’t get too low. You try to be as even-keel as possible so you execute the next pitch. It is what it is. We won the game. That’s all that matters.”

Scherzer’s 4.1 innings marked the second-shortest postseason start of his career as he threw 94 pitches and did not generate many swings and misses. “I just felt that there wasn’t a whole lot of swing-and-miss with Max tonight,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts explained of his decision to remove Scherzer in the fifth inning.

“I saw his slider back up a lot, I saw 90-plus pitches not even through five innings, and Arenado took a good swing his first at-bat. He’s seen him many times over. I felt right there with Arenado coming up there was a chance for a potential ground ball, number one, and I just thought it was a different look.

“We’re going to lean on Max the rest of the postseason, but I just felt in that moment in time, it was the right decision. I don’t ever expect him to be happy, but that was my call.”

Soto attended Wild Card Game to support Scherzer, Turner

Among those in attendance for the NL Wild Card Game included Washington Nationals All-Star outfielder Juan Soto, who was dressed in a Trea Turner Nationals jersey.

Soto was accompanied by agent Scott Boras and Nationals hitting coach Kevin Long, who wore a Scherzer jersey.

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