Misfortunes for rival teams and players always bring out the worst in fanbases ... but as it pertains to Max Scherzer, almost any criticism -- within reason -- is very much in play. The way he handled his exits from the Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Mets has only put a target on his back.
Scherzer last pitched on Sept. 12 and was ruled out for the remainder of the regular season and the start of the playoffs with a shoulder injury. It was unclear if he'd return to the Texas Rangers in 2023, but he worked his way back into action for a start in Game 3 of the ALCS on Wednesday night.
Hmmm ... how do we think that went? In his first start in over five weeks, the right-hander gave the momentum right back to the Houston Astros by allowing five earned runs on five hits and a walk in just four innings of work. The Astros won 8-5 and now trail the Rangers 2-1 in the series.
Though Scherzer's overall body of work in the postseason is largely good, he's had his fair share of choke jobs. Wednesday night was one (even though nobody could've possibly banked on him putting up a quality outing after such a long layoff). Maybe manager Bruce Bochy was playing chess here, knowing Scherzer needed to get a start in and that the Rangers were probably never taking a 3-0 lead against the defending World Series champs.
Either way, Scherzer's last three playoff outings have been bad, and Dodgers fans aren't letting him live it down.
Dodgers fans rip Max Scherzer on social media after another terrible playoff start
In the 2021 NLCS, Scherzer started Game 2 and lasted just 4.1 innings. He gave up two runs on four hits and a walk against the Braves in an eventual 5-4 loss. Then, he didn't touch the ball the rest of the series, claiming he'd suffered a dead arm.
Many fans thought that was a convenient excuse after a weak performance and Scherzer being a couple weeks away from free agency. Then, when he fully threw the Dodgers under the bus, blaming them for his "injury" because of the way he was used, all bets were off. LA fans swore this guy off.
To follow up that NLCS start, Scherzer, fresh off signing a $130 million contract with the Mets, got the nod in Game 1 of the Wild Card series against the Padres in 2022. The result? Seven earned runs on seven hits (FOUR home runs) in just 4.2 innings. The Mets lost the series, the Padres went on to beat the Dodgers, and the hatred for Scherzer on both coasts only grew worse.
Dodgers fans weren't the only ones having fun with Scherzer's stinker. Mets fans were quick to join in on the fun, especially since many believe Scherzer is the reason they didn't capitalize on that special 2022 season (he also got shelled against the Braves in the final series of the year to relinquish the division crown).
Don't forget, he called out the Mets on his way out of New York after being traded at this year's deadline when he told the world about their intentions for 2024 and 2025 (information that previously wasn't divulged anywhere else).
The collective baseball community is certainly pulling for the Rangers to top the Astros, and Dodgers fans can still get the best of both worlds if they take down Houston while Scherzer's postseason resume continues to lose its luster. Anything to make Scott Boras look worse, too, is a massive moral victory.