LOS ANGELES -- Max Scherzer has had plenty of battles against the Dodgers throughout his Hall of Fame career. On Wednesday, he’ll take the Dodger Stadium mound in Dodger Blue for the first time as he makes his first start for Los Angeles, taking on the Astros.
“This is an extremely talented group,” Scherzer said. “What this organization has done over the last handful of years and obviously what they’re capable of doing this year, it’s fun to join these guys, because we have a great chance to win. But it’s going to take a lot of work to be able to get there.”
It’ll certainly take a lot of work in order for the Dodgers to try and repeat, but adding Scherzer and All-Star shortstop Trea Turner certainly gives L.A. a big boost heading into the last two months of the regular season.
The Dodgers’ commitment to winning another title was the driving factor behind Scherzer ultimately waiving his 10-and-5 veto right and accepting a trade to Los Angeles. He also added that staying in the National League was a priority for him, just so he can maintain some familiarity this deep into the season.
At least one American League East club made a competitive offer for Scherzer, according to a source, and division foes Giants and Padres were also in on the right-hander. In fact, for about three hours last week, it appeared as if Scherzer would be joining the Padres.
Scherzer, however, said he knew nothing was official because he didn’t get a call from Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo. A few hours later, he was notified that he and Turner would be going to Los Angeles.
“L.A. being as talented as they are ... I told the Nationals that I wasn’t necessarily going to dictate which team I was going to go to, but rather which team I would accept a trade to,” Scherzer said.
While Scherzer’s preference was to come to L.A., the Dodgers certainly needed his presence in their rotation. The Dodgers came into the season with eight capable starting options, but that number slowly decreased as Dustin May was lost for the season, Tony Gonsolin has battled shoulder issues all season and Clayton Kershaw has been on the IL for over a month with soreness in his left elbow while Trevor Bauer remains on administrative leave.
Scherzer could end up being the piece the Dodgers needed to sit atop the NL West and ultimately claim back-to-back titles. That journey begins on Wednesday against the Astros.
“For me, it’s an opportunity to come to another organization to win,” Scherzer said. “And when you talk about trying to win, this is a team that won the World Series last year and [is] obviously talented. I’m excited to be here and go out there and try to win.”
Bellinger slides over to right
For the first time this season, the Dodgers are trotting out the starting lineup they envisioned when they built their roster back in February. The difference, however, is that Mookie Betts is starting at second base and Cody Bellinger is starting in right field for the first time since 2019.
Manager Dave Roberts said being open to playing different positions is the type of “unselfishness” the Dodgers will need to show in order to fit in all of their pieces. Once Trea Turner gets activated, it’ll only make finding consistent playing time even more difficult.