Max Scherzer was scratched from his Game 6 start Saturday for what he described as muscle fatigue, though the Dodgers hope to have him start in Game 7 of the NLCS against the Braves on Sunday, if the series lasts that long.
Scherzer last pitched in Game 2 of the NLCS last Sunday, in which he only lasted 4⅓ innings, allowing two runs. After the game he said his arm was tired, something that didn’t really improve throughout the week. The decision was made on Friday to have Walker Buehler start Game 6 on short rest instead of Scherzer.
“We just felt it was best to give him an extra day,” manager Dave Roberts told reporters in Atlanta. “We just felt that this gives us the best chance to win today, and tomorrow.”
Roberts said he was very confident Scherzer would be able to pitch in Game 7.
“What he will be able to give us and how long, I don’t know the answer,” Roberts said.
Scherzer met with reporters in the dugout at Truist Park in Atlanta on Saturday.
Max Scherzer said “my arm has been locked up the past couple days … I got to day four (after the start) and it felt like day one.”— Bill Shaikin (@BillShaikin) October 23, 2021
“This isn’t a true injury. It’s just muscle fatigue.”— Bill Shaikin (@BillShaikin) October 23, 2021
Max Scherzer said moments ago he believes his body turned a corner yesterday when he finally was able to throw from 90 feet. He did the same today. #Dodgers— David Vassegh (@THEREAL_DV) October 23, 2021
Max Scherzer said he had not been able to throw beyond 60 feet before yesterday. He got up to 90 but still felt fatigued. He left the door open for an appearance in Game 7. We shall see.— Andy McCullough (@ByMcCullough) October 23, 2021
#Dodgers Max Scherzer said his arm just took longer to bounce back than he had hoped. He said he feels like he turned the corner yesterday and felt better today. His expectation is that he’ll pitch tomorrow, but won’t really know how much length he can provide.— Juan Toribio (@juanctoribio) October 23, 2021
#Dodgers Max Scherzer said he feels confident he can pitch if there’s a Game 7. “I just don’t know where my line will be … how deep I can go.”— Bill Plunkett (@billplunkettocr) October 23, 2021
That Scherzer’s last start was Game 2 of the NLCS instead of Game 1 was a direct result of him being used to close out the final inning of Game 5 of the NLDS against the Giants. That pushed him back a day, hoping the extra rest would have him at his best.
“We knew going into this if we used him tonight, there might be a cost,” Roberts said after the NLDS Game 5 win in San Francisco.
The gambit earned Scherzer his first career save, but it was not his first career postseason relief appearance, having also done so in 2011 and 2013 with the Tigers, and 2017 and 2019 with the Nationals.
“This is a decision that we all kind of came together and we felt good about it,” Roberts said Saturday. “Could I foresee where we’re at right now? No, but you still have to make the decision that gets us to this point.”
Scherzer said Saturday he doesn’t regret the relief appearance.
“I overcooked my arm a little too much,” Max Scherzer said. He said he does not regret volunteering to pitch in relief in the NLDS.— Andy McCullough (@ByMcCullough) October 23, 2021
Max Scherzer says the ninth inning of Game 5 of the NLDS is partially responsible for his dead arm, but it’s not just that: “It’s all the outings, added together.”— Stephanie Apstein (@stephapstein) October 23, 2021
“He’s pitched through some things over the last seven, eight years that I’ve seen him,” Trea Turner, who also played with Scherzer in Washington, told reporters in Atlanta on Saturday. “He knows when his body’s available to go or not. If he could, he would definitely be out there.”