Although Max Scherzer went on a historic run after being traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers and closed out the National League Division Series against the San Francisco Giants, his time with the team might be remembered by not pitching when they needed him most.
Scherzer started Game 2 of the NL Championship Series but only pitched 4.1 innings as the Dodgers went on to lose 5-4. He was then scheduled to start Game 6 but ended up being scratched due to dead arm, which forced Walker Buehler to go on short rest.
The Dodgers lost the game, and NLCS, to the eventual World Series champion Atlanta Braves. Then come free agency, Scherzer agreed to a record-setting three-year, $130 million contract with the New York Mets prior to the MLB lockout beginning.
Scherzer’s time in L.A. was ultimately short-lived and the team was unable to meet their expectations, so the 37-year-old understands why some Dodgers fans might be upset with how his tenure played out, he told Jorge Castillo of the LA Times:
“For Dodger fans to be upset with me, for me to get dead arm like that, hey, that’s fair game,” Scherzer said. “Look, you play with L.A., you’re here to win the World Series. I got that. I was OK with that and for fans to be upset for my dead arm, that’s fair. I can live with that.”
After signing with the Mets, Scherzer blamed his arm troubles on not pitching enough, despite throwing 90-plus pitches in nine of his 11 regular-season starts with the Dodgers, and 76 in a game he was removed from due to hamstring tightness. He also added a 110 pitch start in Game 2 of the NLDS.
“I pitched the Wild Card Game, made a relief appearance, made a couple more starts and was able to do that,” Scherzer said about the Washington Nationals’ 2019 playoff run. “I thought I was in the same position to be able to do that in 2021. Reflecting upon that, in Washington, I was asked to pitch on the five-day and throw 100-110 pitches consistently.
“I was stepped on all the time, and I loved it. I was built up for a much higher work capacity in D.C. So when I got asked to do that, I felt like my arm could respond to that. Rightfully so with the Dodgers, there was major concern to protect Walker’s and Julio’s innings, and I 100% support that.
“We made decisions to give extra days out on a consistent basis and watch our pitch counts for the postseason. I just feel that lowered my work capacity, so that when I tried to do the 2019 formula of being able to pitch out of the ‘pen, my arm wasn’t able to respond to that because I came from a lower pitch count, per see.”
Scherzer not blaming Dodgers for arm issues
Scherzer’s explanation for why he had arm troubles during the playoffs made many question his logic and rubbed some fans the wrong way because it seemed like he was blaming the Dodgers for it.
However, Scherzer recently clarified he does not blame the organization and said he just might not have been clear enough with the explanation.
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