Scherzer (11 K's) elite in 3-0 start with Rangers

Right-hander delivers seven scoreless frames of one-hit ball in rout of Halos

August 15th, 2023

ARLINGTON --  is living up to the hype with three wins in his first three starts for the Rangers.

Scherzer pitched a gem on Monday night, allowing one hit with a season-high 11 strikeouts over seven scoreless innings in the Rangers’ 12-0 rout of the Angels in the series opener at Globe Life Field.

“He’s an elite pitcher for a reason,” All-Star shortstop Corey Seager said. “He takes the ball every five days and goes out and proves it.”

Texas (71-48) now holds a 3 1/2-game lead over second-place Houston (68-52) in the American League West, the Rangers’ largest since a four-game advantage on July 20.

Scherzer, who’s 3-0 with a 1.80 ERA in his first three outings for Texas, has been everything the Rangers could have envisioned when they acquired him in a deal with the Mets on July 30. He is just the third starter in club history to win each of his first three starts, joining Aaron Sele (1998) and Jamie Moyer (1989).

“He’s just so good. He’s so well prepared,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “He’s fun to watch, right? I appreciate the elite players doing their thing, and tonight that was a fun game to watch.”

Scherzer dominated from the start, striking out the side in the first inning. It happened in unusual fashion with Brandon Drury striking out due to a batter pitch clock violation to end the inning. That simply foreshadowed the kind of night it would be for Scherzer and the Rangers.

Scherzer allowed his only hit in the second inning as Mike Moustakas led off with an infield single. The right-hander worked around that and a one-out walk, ending the inning by getting Matt Thaiss to line into a double play.

That started a stretch in which Scherzer retired 16 straight batters, including striking out the side in the sixth inning and two more in the seventh. Scherzer struck out 11 in four starts with the Mets last season.

“Around the third is when I kind of locked it in completely,” Scherzer said. “I was working with [catcher Mitch Garver] and just started to locate everything. Located all the pitches.

“I felt like I had a good rhythm with Garv. We were in good rhythm tonight, the whole night.”

Martín Pérez closed out the game with two no-hit innings as the Rangers completed their second one-hitter of the season.

Scherzer has been in rhythm since he allowed three runs in the first inning of his Rangers debut against the White Sox on Aug. 3. Since that first inning, he’s yielded one run over 19 innings.

Scherzer joined Justin Verlander (2017, Houston), Randy Johnson (1998, Houston) and Jim Bunning (1964, Philadelphia) as the only pitchers in the Modern Era to win each of their first three starts with a new franchise while throwing 20-plus innings, allowing four or fewer runs and striking out at least 26.

Even though Scherzer is enjoying his fast start thus far, he isn’t taking it for granted.

“I’ve pitched long enough to know you enjoy these moments, but you also know that there’s going to be games where you’re going to be in a tight ballgame and you’ve got to make pitches,” Scherzer said.

“You enjoy these, but I know what it takes to win at this level. You’ve got to be on your ‘A’ game every single time. The opposing lineups are all gunning to get you, so there isn’t any time to ever let off the gas.”

The same holds true for the offense, and the Rangers built a comfortable early lead for Scherzer and then poured it on with a five-run seventh.

That seventh inning featured a three-run home run by Marcus Semien and a two-run shot by Adolis García. Semien finished with a season-high five RBIs, while García notched the second 30-homer season of his career.

“It kind of feeds itself,” Scherzer said. “If I’m pitching well, then the offense continues to go. That’s what makes a good team win is when everybody has a hand in it, everybody comes out of the game feeling great.”