The Los Angeles Dodgers might be stuck in the middle of a poor run of playoff form, but at the very least, they don't currently employ the worst postseason pitcher of the era.
They used to, actually, but they don't anymore.
Andrew Friedman's last earth-shattering trade, when he stomped on the rest of the league's ambitions by blocking a rival and absorbing a fleet of All-Stars, came at the 2021 deadline, when a Max Scherzer/Trea Turner package headed west in exchange for Josiah Gray and Keibert Ruiz.
Ruiz, now 25, had his first solid season in 2023, and woke up one night as a member of the Nationals' core through 2032 (if a slew of team options get picked up). Gray might've been an underwhelming choice for an All-Star berth in '23, but he earned one just the same. From the Dodgers' side, Turner was the heir apparent at shortstop to Corey Seager (until he wasn't) and Scherzer came down with a nasty case of dead arm at the worst possible time: immediately after struggling in the 2021 NLCS. Convenient diagnosis.
Once the postseason ended, Scherzer initially blamed his arm troubles on the Dodgers' misuse before later backtracking by saying, "I don't blame the Dodgers." Mixed messages aside, he certainly has left his teams deader than his right arm in his playoff starts post-2020. After Wednesday's Game 3 thumping, where Scherzer hustled back to start for the Rangers and probably shouldn't have, he owns the highest postseason ERA of the 2020s.
Dodgers starter Clayton Kershaw passed on 'Worst ERA' list by Max Scherzer, Tyler Glasnow
I know what you're thinking: Yes, Tyler Glasnow actually has made it to October healthy a couple of times.
I know what else you're thinking and yeah, a 5.68 ERA with never-ending dead arm actually is kind of impressive. What came first, though? The "dead arm" or the playoff struggles? I guess Dodgers fans will never know.
Scherzer didn't make a playoff start in 2020, and started his Dodgers postseason career with eight dominant innings against the Giants in the NLDS in 2021, including a so-ill-advised-it-just-might-work relief appearance to close it out. Since wrapping that DS with a 1.13 ERA, he's allowed 14 earned runs in his next 13 playoff innings across three seasons, finishing with a "flourish" on Wednesday evening in Arlington.
Glasnow sent the Guardians packing in last season's Wild Card round, but hasn't been consistently spiffy since drawing the (choking) Blue Jays in 2020's first round. His non-Cleveland round-by-round ERAs since then have been 4.91 (Yankees, victimized by Giancarlo Stanton), 6.00 (2020 Astros got him), 9.64 (2020 Dodgers got him twice), and 5.40 against Texas this season.
Without Clayton Kershaw's historic implosion in this year's NLDS? He'd have only allowed 13 earned runs in 35.2 innings, good for a 3.28 ERA. Unfortunately, he's stuck in the three-spot without a chance to lower that mark back down, while Scherzer might just get another chance.
A chance in which he'll likely do additional damage to his league-worst mark.