One thing I never expected to see was Max Scherzer pitching in a Dodgers uniform.
Fortunately, the aggressiveness of general manager Andrew Friedman made that possible, and I managed to snag tickets to Scherzer’s Dodger debut (with the Astros* in town no less).
Though the event was unexpected, the results were anything but. It was another day at the office for Mad Max. The 37-year-old promptly allowed a homer to the second batter of the game, but settled in nicely after that, allowing just two runs on five hits and a walk over seven innings. He also struck out 10 on the night, including three-quarters of a Jose Altuve golden sombrero (Joe Kelly finished the humiliation in eighth).
Scherzer kept one of the best lineups in baseball off-balance all night; Altuve flailed at some breaking balls that might’ve ended up in Pacoima. Sure, there was some hard contact. Dodger legend Yordan Alvarez had a few loud flyouts, but Scherzer was his typical dominant self. The new Dodger treated Chavez Ravine to a curtain call to close out his debut.
Perhaps fittingly, Kenley Jansen added some intrigue in the ninth after coming into a non-save situation, but would ultimately hang on to secure Dodger victory number one for Scherzer.
Takeaways from Max Scherzer’s Dodgers debut.
There was a lot to like from this game on both sides of the ball. The Dodgers hit four home runs, including a pair from second baseman Mookie Betts. Cody Bellinger making some solid contact was another encouraging sign, as the slumping star laced a double off the left-center field wall. Sure, Joe Kelly v. Carlos Correa II didn’t go as planned, with the at-bat culminating with a loud homer on a hanging breaking ball, and Kenley served up a two-run shot to Kyle Tucker, but Scherzer’s overpowering performance kept the Dodgers in the driver’s seat.
Max Scherzer’s always been one of my favorite pitchers to watch. Of course, his intense demeanor and general scariness tend to steal the show, but I think that sometimes overshadows his pitching prowess. I consider him to be a finesse pitcher who also happens to have overpowering stuff.
There are five pitches in his arsenal, but he primarily relies on a fastball/slider combo, which mixes both arm and glove side movement and can be placed anywhere in the zone at will. Scherzer still possesses elite endurance at age 37 as well, reaching back for 96 at over 100 pitches.
Of course he’s a fantastic fit for the Dodger rotation; it’s Max Scherzer we’re talking about here.
The intensity of his preparation and in-game attitude should fit in well with that of Clayton Kershaw and Walker Buehler, and he has the stuff to anchor any rotation.
Scherzer’s time in LA might end up being short, but he has a great shot at imparting some sage advice on the team’s younger arms, and adding some more hardware to his already Hall of Fame resume.