A dead arm kept Max Scherzer from pitching in Game Six of the NLDS, which Scherzer believes was due to pitching fewer innings in the lead-up to the postseason. However, as the ace right-hander told Jorge Castillo of The Los Angeles Times, Scherzer doesn’t hold the Dodgers at fault for the situation, nor was the postseason a factor in his decision to sign with the Mets rather than return to Chavez Ravine. The Dodgers tried to limit their starters’ innings in order to keep them fresh for October, and Scherzer went into the playoffs assuming (and he told the club as much) that he was able to keep up the same workload as in 2019, when he helped lead the Nationals to the World Series. But, he and the Dodgers “never took that variable into consideration” of how pitching less heading into 2021 postseason would impact his arm.
“I bear more brunt of that because of me having those discussions with [manager Dave Roberts] about that, about how I can be used in the postseason and coming up short on that, on my end, of saying I can do something and then it didn’t happen,” Scherzer said. He also noted that his upcoming free agency didn’t weigh into his scratched start: “It’s literally my arm’s health. When you can’t throw, you can’t throw….Throwing in Game 6, I would’ve been rolling the dice on sustaining a substantial injury.”
More from other pitchers around the game…
- Tyler Matzek didn’t appear in a single big league game from 2016-19, as the southpaw found his career all but halted due to control issues and a case of the yips. It took a long time and a lot of work for Matzek to feel comfortable on and off the field, as The Ringer’s Jordan Ritter Conn details, but Matzek returned to become a strong contributor out of the Braves bullpen over the last two seasons, culminating in his role in Atlanta’s World Series title. While Matzek’s control issues haven’t entirely gone away (he has a 12.2% walk rate in 2020-21), he has posted a 2.64 ERA and 31.2% strikeout over 92 regular season innings, plus an excellent 1.48 ERA over 24 1/3 postseason frames.
- One of the Yankees’ more prominent pitching prospects, Clarke Schmidt’s big league career has been limited to 12 2/3 innings, due in large part to an elbow injury that sidelined him for much of 2021. “It just didn’t respond like we expected it to and it took forever for it to get right,” Schmidt tells The Athletic’s Lindsey Adler about his injury, an extensor strain that Schmidt described as “basically the same thing as tennis elbow.” Once finally recovered, Schmidt was able to pitch 38 innings of minor league ball and then 6 1/3 innings with the Yankees at the MLB level, and most importantly he says he is feeling healthy heading into the 2022 campaign. Some adjustments have already been made to his offseason training plan, however, as Schmidt feels that overwork led to last year’s injury. “I just pushed the gas pedal a little bit too much too early and I learned my lesson,” he said. It seems like that New York will start Schmidt in Triple-A to give him a bit more seasoning (he has only 25 2/3 innings of Triple-A ball under his belt), but for a Yankees club that can always use pitching depth, Schmidt could be an important arm to watch as the season proceeds.