Max Scherzer Continues Working Toward A Return


The Rangers have been without Max Scherzer since mid-September, but the three-time Cy Young winner hasn’t given up hope of pitching in the postseason. Indeed, he seems to be progressing well toward that goal.

His teammates did their part on Wednesday afternoon, beating the Rays to win the AL Wild Card Series and advance to the ALDS. Scherzer, meanwhile, pitched another bullpen session (according to Evan Grant of The Dallas Morning News), ramping up the intensity with which he threw. The veteran described the session as “pain-free” and seemed excited about his progress, calling out in triumph as he made his way back to the clubhouse. While he’ll have to wait to see how his body reacts in the coming days, that sounds like promising news.

As the Rangers celebrated their first postseason series victory in over a decade, Scherzer had his trademarked look of determination in his eyes (per Tyler Kepner of The Athletic). “Based on today, I’m turning a corner, I see a path,” the future Hall of Famer said. “You never know.” Based on those comments, it doesn’t sound like his return is fast approaching – he remains doubtful for the ALDS – but the deeper the Rangers play into October, the more likely it is that Scherzer can get back on the mound.

Thanks to a couple of off days in the ALDS schedule, the Rangers could get through the second round of the playoffs with just three starting pitchers. After that, however, they will almost certainly require a fourth starter – if they advance to the ALCS. Andrew Heaney could fill that need, as could Jon Gray if his health allows. Still, Texas would surely rather have Scherzer in that role. In eight starts with the Rangers this season, he pitched to a 3.20 ERA, striking out nearly 30% of the batters he faced. Not to mention, the 2019 World Series champion has a lengthy postseason resume, including a 3.47 ERA in 22 playoff starts. He has also made five relief appearances, racking up ten strikeouts in 6 1/3 innings out of the ’pen. If Scherzer isn’t stretched out to start by the ALCS, he could serve a valuable role as a not-so-secret weapon in the later innings.

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