The Los Angeles Dodgers debut of Max Scherzer was a success. He struck out 10 Houston Astros in his first game, earning the victory for L.A.
Max Scherzer is a starting pitcher for the Los Angeles Dodgers. He has won his debut game with 10 strikeouts in 6 innings of work.
LOS ANGELES, Calif. — The applause became louder, more ecstatic, and more protracted. Clayton Kershaw went to Max Scherzer and informed him what had become clear very fast.
“Give ’em what they want,” says the narrator.
Scherzer has never gotten a curtain call in his 14-year big league career, which included three Cy Young Awards, two no-hitters, and one World Series title. At least not one that he could recall. But he got one on Wednesday night, in his Los Angeles Dodgers debut, after restricting the feared and despised Houston Astros to two runs in seven shutout innings.
Scherzer poured out of the third-base dugout, touched the front of his new hat, and saluted a sold-out crowd of 52,274 with an extended right arm, a fitting climax to a spectacular first impression, at the request of Kershaw, another three-time Cy Young Award winner.
“This is what you live for,” Scherzer added. “You dream of pitching in front of 50,000 screaming fans.”
For the second night in a row, Scherzer dispersed five singles, walked one hitter, and struck out ten batters, three of which came against Jose Altuve, thrilling what was the biggest audience to witness a 2021 baseball game.
The 37-year-old right-hander averaged 95.2 mph on his fastball, a whole tick higher than his previous season best. The excitement elicited by a boisterous environment undoubtedly contributed, but Scherzer also credited the improvement to his complete recovery from a triceps ailment that forced him to miss a start in the run-up to the trade deadline.
With that fastball, Scherzer got ten swings and misses, but it was an excellent curveball that opened things up, he added.
“You could just sense the uplift, eagerness from our players from the minute I arrived to the stadium, from the moment we got to the ballpark,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “He delivered on the crowd’s anticipation from the first pitch, mounting the mound, and wearing the Dodger [home uniform] for the first time. He came through for us. It’s all about the intensity. It was a lot of fun. And it was just very amazing to watch the fans get a whiff of it and want him to complete the seventh.”
After throwing 89 pitches, Scherzer returned to the dugout in the midst of the sixth inning, but Roberts provided nothing but support. Since giving up a first-inning home slam to Michael Brantley, Scherzer has retired 17 of 20 hitters, and Roberts didn’t hesitate to bring him back out for the seventh, despite the fact that the Dodgers would depend heavily on him over the next several months.
Kyle Tucker subsequently reduced the Astros’ deficit in half with a ninth-inning two-run homer off Kenley Jansen, which Scherzer started with a leadoff walk. Robel Garcia and Jason Castro, on the other hand, were quickly dispatched by Scherzer. Scherzer got pinch-hitter Chas McCormick to swing through a 96 mph fastball on his 109th pitch, matching his season high, and completed seven innings for the sixth start this season, lowering his ERA to 2.75.
“Coming here with everything on the line and the way the crowd was, it was a high-adrenaline start,” Scherzer said. “Try not to overwork yourself. Simply pitch my game, go out there and do my best, and try to navigate the lineup. Tonight’s offensive was fantastic.”
Max Scherzer stated after his first start for the Dodgers, “You live for this.” “You dream of pitching in front of 50,000 screaming fans.” Richard Mackson is a sports reporter for USA TODAY.
Mookie Betts hit two home runs and AJ Pollock hit another, but it was Scherzer’s performance that spoke volumes about what he can do in the future.
The Dodgers, who are 65-44 in the National League West but still 3 1/2 games behind the first-place San Francisco Giants, are in a pickle with their starting pitching. After sexual assault accusations, Trevor Bauer has been placed on administrative leave and is the subject of separate investigations by MLB and the Pasadena Police Department. Kershaw has been sidelined with forearm discomfort since early July and is presently not throwing. Tony Gonsolin, who is out with shoulder inflammation, isn’t one of them. Danny Duffy, who was acquired last week from the Kansas City Royals, may not be ready until September.
Last week, they sent an outstanding package of prospects to the Washington Nationals in exchange for Scherzer and All-Star shortstop Trea Turner. The Dodgers’ dire need for starting pitching depth was highlighted earlier Wednesday by the signing of four-time All-Star Cole Hamels, who has only made one start since the start of the 2020 season and is currently working on arm strength.
In October, though, the Dodgers will depend on Scherzer.
“We have to get there first,” Roberts said, “and he’s a very important part of that process.”
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