The following is one of those hard-to-believe but true facts: Max Scherzer has done as a Texas Ranger than Jacob deGrom.
Scherzer pitched 45 innings to deGrom’s 30 1/3.
Their combined workload in the regular season is 7 innings more than what Jordan Montgomery did for the Rangers, and he arrived to Texas on July 30.
Of the many moves Rangers general manager Chris Young made in the last year, his biggest “go for it” deals resulted in injuries. That’s the risk you take when you sign veteran pitchers whose right arms have the mileage of an 18-wheeler.
On Monday night, the second of Young’s major “go for it” move started Game 3 of the World Series in Arizona against the Diamondbacks. Scherzer made his third start of this postseason, all since coming back from an arm injury that forced him to miss a bit more than a month.
Scherzer was sharp(er) in his three innings of work, but took a line drive off his lower back that actually led to third baseman Josh Jung throwing out the runner for the rare 1-3-5 putout.
Scherzer pitched a scoreless third inning, and had a 3-0 lead when he went to the mound for the fourth inning when the back tightened up. He left the game without facing a batter in the fourth and, according to Fox Sports reporter Ken Rosenthal, was nearly in tears as he walked towards the clubhouse.
The Rangers said Scherzer left with “back tightness,” but replays of the line drive suggest the ball could have hit his elbow.
In an odd coincidence, Scherzer started against the team that selected him in the first round of the 2006 MLB Draft, the Diamondbacks. Before he made his MLB debut, with Arizona in 2008, he briefly played for the now-dead Fort Worth Cats.
If the Rangers win this World Series, all moves are justified. If they don’t, the additions of deGrom and Scherzer will hurt.
If you look hard enough you can see the second-highest paid Ranger slip in and out of the clubhouse during their run to the World Series. DeGrom isn’t ducking anyone, of course, but when you’re hurt there isn’t much you can do.
Singed to a five-year, $185 million contract last offseason, deGrom pitched 30 1/3 innings as a Ranger before he suffered a season-ending arm injury in early June that required Tommy John surgery. Talent wise, he’s one of the best pitchers in the history of the Rangers.
He’s a Monet on the mound.
Do not expect deGrom to pitch for the Rangers until late in 2024. The earliest you can expect him to be “Jacob deGrom” again will be the start of 2025, when he’s 37.
DeGrom’s injury is why Young made the move to trade prospect Luisangel Angel to the Mets for Scherzer.
Like deGrom, it’s hard to call the move to acquire Scherzer anything other than a keg of frustrating.
Since coming to the Rangers, Scherzer pitched significantly better in Texas than he did in New York. Funny how playing in a pennant race for a legit contender can do that to someone.
He wasn’t to deGrom’s ability, but a healthy Scherzer proved he wasn’t finished. In eight starts with Texas, he posted a 3.20 earned run average with 53 strikeouts in 45 innings.
Then he got hurt, and ... what can you do? A 39-year-old pitcher is playing with a blow torch next to an open barrel of oil every time he throws a baseball over 90 miles per hour.
He begged manager Bruce Bochy to allow him to pitch in the American League Championship Series, once the doctors cleared him after the necessary of “nothing” for a month.
“I didn’t quit on the team and I didn’t quit on the season,” Scherzer said before Game 1 of the World Series. “I was still showing up early to the park. Staying in shape, and getting my body ready. I wasn’t going to take one second to not go out there and give it my all so if I did get a chance I would be at my best.
“I feel great. Arm wise, yes. I’m just building up my work capacity.”
In two starts against Houston Scherzer didn’t have it. In Game 3 against Houston he gave up 5 runs in 4 innings, and in Game 7 he was out after 2 2/3 innings in favor of Jordan Montgomery.
Just as he did in Game 3 on Monday night, Bochy had to try. Against Arizona, Scherzer allowed two hits, no runs with one strikeout in three innings on 36 pitches.
No clue his status for the remainder of this World Series.
The Rangers are on the hook for Scherzer’s $43 million salary in 2024, just as they are deGrom’s $40 million.
If they do win this World Series, all moves and money spent are worth it.
If not, that’s one spicy meatball.