The Texas Rangers’ Max Scherzer: A Crucial Piece in the ALCS Puzzle

In the world of professional baseball, the playoffs are a time for star players to shine. When it comes to the Texas Rangers, they understand that if they are going to have any chance of winning the World Series, they will likely need Max Scherzer to make at least one more start, perhaps as many as three. However, Scherzer’s recent performance has raised concerns, and the Rangers are hoping for a resurgence.

Scherzer’s Return to the Mound

Max Scherzer’s return to the mound was highly anticipated. After being sidelined for 36 days due to a strained right shoulder, fans and the Rangers’ coaching staff were eager to see the star pitcher back in action. Scherzer’s absence had been felt keenly, as his presence on the mound has often been a game-changer.

Scherzer’s first pitch upon his return was clocked at an impressive 95 mph, surpassing expectations. Given his extended layoff, Rangers manager Bruce Bochy had expressed contentment with Scherzer hitting 93 mph. Furthermore, Scherzer displayed good control of his curveball. But there was a catch.

Scherzer’s Struggles on the Mound

The Achilles’ heel in Scherzer’s return was his slider, a pitch that has been a difference-maker throughout his career. In the game against the Astros, Scherzer struggled to command his slider effectively. He threw 13 sliders and allowed more hits (two) with the pitch than he generated missed swings. This lack of sharpness in his slider allowed Houston hitters to narrow their focus and look for pitches to drive.

Astros second baseman Jose Altuve capitalized on this situation, hitting a home run among the five hits Scherzer allowed. As Scherzer tried to establish his slider or an alternative, he hit Yordan Alvarez with a pitch, threw a wild pitch, and issued a walk. It was clear that Scherzer was a bit rusty after his prolonged absence.

Manager Bochy’s Perspective

Manager Bruce Bochy recognized Scherzer’s rustiness and decided to pull him after just four innings and 63 pitches. Bochy, however, was optimistic about Scherzer’s future performance. He stated that Scherzer’s stuff was good and that it would only get better with time. He emphasized that Scherzer’s well-being was the top priority and praised his readiness.

As Scherzer left the field in the fourth inning, he had a brief conversation with Bochy, who pointed toward the bullpen. While Scherzer was not second-guessing any decisions, he emphasized his role in communicating how he felt and his readiness to continue pitching. The decision on how to use him further would be up to the coaching staff.

Scherzer’s Role Going Forward

The Texas Rangers are listing left-hander Andrew Heaney as their probable starter for Game 4. If Bochy keeps his rotation in its current alignment, Scherzer would be on track to start Game 7 in Houston. The specifics of Scherzer’s usage from this point onwards remain uncertain, but one thing is clear: his arm feels good, and he is ready to contribute.

Manager Bochy believes that Scherzer will play an essential role for the Rangers as they continue their postseason journey. The team did everything possible to get Scherzer ready for this moment, and there is no regret in their decision to field him.


Max Scherzer’s return to the Texas Rangers’ rotation has been eagerly awaited, and the initial performance had its ups and downs. As the ALCS unfolds, the Rangers and their fans will closely watch Scherzer’s role and hope for his slider to regain its sharpness.

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