Veteran Max Scherzer struggled in his return from injury as the Houston Astros topped the Texas Rangers 8-5 in ALCS Game 3. Scherzer, in his first MLB action in over a month due to a shoulder strain, lacked command of his signature slider.
Rusty Performance in Game 3 Comeback
The Rangers couldn’t overcome the 5 runs Scherzer surrendered in just 4 innings. The loss trims Texas’ series lead to 2-1. Scherzer acknowledged he failed to execute pitches properly, leaving too many hittable.
Concerning Outing for Rangers’ Playoff Hopes
With Scherzer a key part of Texas’ title hopes, his shaky outing raises concerns. Though showing 95 mph velocity, he couldn’t put away hitters with his slider like usual. Astros batters pounced on mistakes, with Jose Altuve homering.
Manager Bruce Bochy pulled Scherzer after just 63 pitches. While hoping he’ll improve with the rust gone, Texas needs their ace at his best. Scherzer aims to communicate how he feels going forward to be utilized optimally.
Scherzer Looks to Rebound After First Start Back
The Rangers will likely need Scherzer again this series, perhaps up to 3 more times. After barely pitching in September with the injury, it remains to be seen if he can rebound. Scherzer stepped up throwing simulated games to get back for the ALCS.
But his first start proved unsuccessful, halting Texas’ 7-game playoff win streak. With a chance to take command of the series, the Rangers now face a pivotal Game 4. Scherzer remains determined to execute properly next time out. Getting their No. 1 arm on track is key to Texas trying to close out a World Series berth.
The Rangers need the real Scherzer back if they hope to capture a championship. While his velocity was encouraging, he must refine his slider and pitch sequencing to shut down lineups like Houston’s.
Scherzer has a track record of adjustments mid-series, but his health will remain a concern. Texas has talent but likely can’t afford any more starts like this from their ace.
Getting a vintage Scherzer effort the next time out would put Texas on the cusp of a title.