In eleven starts for the Dodgers after he was dealt to Los Angeles by Washington’s Nationals at the July 30th trade deadline, Max Scherzer posted a 1.98 ERA, a 1.96 FIP, eight walks, and 89 Ks in 68 1⁄3 innings pitched, over which he held opposing hitters to a .189/.220/.295 line.
His teammate in D.C., Trea Turner, who was sent to LA in the same deal, went 70 for 207 in 52 games and 226 plate appearances (.338/.385/.565) down the stretch, finishing up with an NL-best .328 overall on the year.
So, how did the two former Nationals fit in so well and get situated so quickly in their new home?
“It’s really the group that they have here,” Scherzer explained in advance of his start in the Dodgers and St. Louis Cardinals’ NL Wild Card matchup tonight in Dodger Stadium.
“Just the guys, the coaches, the staff, the veterans, the young guys, and the chemistry they already had before I stepped foot in here. They have these guys out here for a reason. They have a good clubhouse out here.
“Obviously, when Trea and I were able to come in here, we were able to blend in because the clubhouse and the chemistry had already existed. The fact we had known each other across the years playing against the Dodgers so many times. We just came in here with a win-first attitude, and that’s what this organization is about. That’s what made it so easy.”
While the Dodgers went (11-0) in Scherzer’s outings in the regular season, with Scherzer (7-0), he said that all of that goes out the window in a win-or-go-home Wild Card game.
“You kind of throw all streaks, all stats, everything out the window,” Scherzer said.
“It’s playoff baseball. Anything can happen. I’ve seen baseball, some crazy things happen when you get into October baseball. All that stuff doesn’t matter. It literally just matters to go out there and play your best baseball, and you need the whole team to play the best baseball. That’s the only way you win these games.”
Scherzer has 22 games and 18 starts in the postseason on his resume, including postseason runs in 2016, 2017, and in 2019 in D.C., when he helped the Nationals stay in the fight in their NL Wild Card game against Milwaukee’s Brewers, before a late-game rally propelled the club to the NLDS and eventually the World Series.
So, does that experience give him an edge going into tonight’s game?
“There’s different experiences,” Scherzer said.
“I think you draw on all your postseason experiences, especially in elimination games as well. It’s one game. You win or go home, and every pitch — you’re always on pins and needles in those situations, and you’ve just got to be calm, cool, and collected and go out there and execute and go out there and just pitch your best and pitch your game.”
What will Scherzer do in Dodger blue tonight? Are you torn between supporting Scherzer after all he did for the Nationals in his seven seasons in D.C. and not wanting to pull for LA? Or is that just us? Turner too. They already got their rings, right? Or are you still pulling for the two of them to add more jewelry?