Despite the Dodgers’ best efforts to re-sign Max Scherzer, LA’s key deadline acquisition is heading back to the NL East after it was announced that he would be joining the New York Mets.
Scherzer, who posted a sparkling 1.98 ERA in 11 regular season starts with the Dodgers, was officially introduced as a member of the New York Mets through a Zoom press conference on Wednesday. Accompanied by super-agent, Scott Boras, Mets General Manager Billy Eppler and team owner Steven Cohen, the 3-time Cy Young Award winner discussed what led him to sign with the Mets on a three-year, $130 million deal that set a new Major League Baseball record for highest annual average at $43.3M per season. Scherzer cited the Mets proximity to his home in Jupiter Florida and how returning to the east coast would make life easier for his family, as a significant factor in his decision to take his talents to Queens.
The future Hall of Famer donned the blue and orange New York Mets hat for the first time and exuded the positivity and excitement that is typical at introductory press conferences for marquee free agents, but he did offer some revealing comments about his time in LA, when he was asked about the ‘dead arm’ he experienced that forced him to miss Game 6 of the NLCS.
Scherzer said that the Dodgers watching his pitch count lowered his ‘work capacity’ and that ultimately, he was ‘compromised’ as a result and was unable to perform the way he did during the 2019 postseason when he helped lead the Nationals to a World Series Championship. Scherzer averaged 94 pitches per start after being dealt to the Dodgers at the deadline, compared to the 103 pitches he threw per start with the Nationals in 2019. However, Scherzer was forced to exit prematurely in 2 of his 11 starts down the stretch. One due to a rain delay in early August against the Phillies where he went just 3.1 IP and tossed just 58 pitches and another due to suffering a tight hamstring against the Braves in early September, where he went 6 IP and threw 76 pitches and could have easily gone another one or two frames. Additionally, despite back-to-back subpar starts to end the regular season, Scherzer was able to throw 102 pitches against the Rockies in Colorado, where he allowed five earned runs in 5 IP and then against San Diego where he tossed 97 pitches and gave up 5 earned runs in 5.1 IP. So, while his pitch count was slightly lower, he was given a much longer leash than most Dodgers pitchers typically enjoy.
Moreover, in 2019, Scherzer made 12 of his 27 starts on four days of rest, (44%) with 15 of his 27 starts coming on five or more days rest. In his eleven starts with the Dodgers, four of his eleven starts coming on four days of rest (36%). So, while the numbers do bear out Scherzer’s claims that he was used differently with the Dodgers than the Nationals, it’s tough to say if higher pitch counts and more starts on four days rest with LA would have led to a more stretched out Scherzer that would have been at less risk of experiencing dead arm. We discuss if Max Scherzer’s reduced pitch count and pitching on longer rest with the Dodgers are what led to him being unavailable in Game 6 of the NLCS. Plus, we discuss other relevant factors that could have led to Scherzer running out of gas, like his advanced age, pitching in a contract year, being the thick of a Cy Young race and more!
Max Scherzer Blames Dodgers for Dead Arm, Did LA Mishandle Max? Truth About Max’s Dead Arm in LA
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