Scherzer to throw sim game with sights set on ALCS return

October 15th, 2023

ARLINGTON -- As champagne was popped and beer was poured on players in the Rangers clubhouse on Tuesday night after the club swept the Orioles in three games to advance to the American League Championship Series, no player was happier than Max Scherzer.

Acquired from the Mets to reinforce a rotation battling injuries, the 39-year-old also found himself on the injured list just weeks into his Rangers tenure with a low-grade strain of his right teres major muscle that would sideline him for the remainder of the regular season.

The initial diagnosis from general manager Chris Young was that Scherzer was “unlikely” to pitch in the postseason, after posting a 3.20 ERA across eight starts following the Trade Deadline. Scherzer thought otherwise. If the Rangers could make a run, he felt he could be ready.

“Give me a chance,” Scherzer said. “Give me a chance. Give me a chance. Let me get back into this thing. So I've been grinding away, doing everything I can to just be in position to have a chance. The guys have gone out there and provided that chance. So I gotta go out there and still do my work and hopefully I will be ready for next time.”

Scherzer threw a live batting practice ahead of Game 1 of the ALDS in Baltimore. He’s expected to throw another on Wednesday, before the Rangers travel to begin the ALCS.

Scherzer said a sweep in the ALDS was the best-case scenario for him, because it now allows him a couple extra days to throw another simulated game in a controlled setting in order to get his pitch count right and recover well before the ALCS rosters are due.

“Standing here [Tuesday night], I feel good about it,” Scherzer said of the possibility of being ready for the ALCS. “I feel good about what I can do in the future here. But I need to throw the sim game tomorrow and get out of it. I’ll do the best I can to get ready.

“When my number does get called, I'll be ready.”

Scherzer’s postseason resume speaks for itself. He owns a career 3.58 ERA over 133 1/3 postseason innings, and won a World Series with the Nationals in 2019.

Whether he’s a full go in the rotation or an option out of the bullpen, a healthy Scherzer can add valuable innings for the Rangers in the ALCS. There’s a high possibility he does just that.

“We're excited,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “Hopefully, that is the case. We've got a little time here. See where we're at with Max. We've missed him. He's been throwing well. I thought he threw well to hitters not too long ago [in Baltimore], but didn't want to risk putting him in this series. We wanted to give him time to build up. We'll continue to do that and see where we're at.”