Three-time Cy Young winner Max Scherzer will start Game 3 of the American League Championship Series, Texas Rangers manager Bruce Bochy announced Tuesday. It will be Scherzer's first game action since exiting his Sept. 12 start with a strained teres muscle near his right shoulder. .
"He's ready. That's why he's starting Game 3," Bochy said Tuesday. "A few days ago back home he threw 69 pitches to hitters and he came out of that fine. And during that time he maintained his stamina stuff. He was available (in Game 1). In fact, he said he wanted to pitch yesterday if needed, if it went extra innings or something. But anyway it works out well that he can go Game 3."
Scherzer's injury was expected to sideline him two months and, at the time,. Obviously he has beaten that timetable significantly. Scherzer faced hitters in a 69-pitch simulated game last Wednesday and figures to be on some sort of pitch limit in Game 3.
"That number I mentioned would be a starting point: 68, 69 pitches, whatever it was. That's a good starting point," Bochy added. "I don't think it would be less than that because he's gone that far. He didn't hold back. He was being Max out there. And we were going to cut him a little short and he said I want to go one more inning, that's how good he felt. So that's where I'd start with."
The 39-year-old Scherzer joined the Rangers in a deadline trade with the New York Mets. He threw 152 2/3 innings with a 3.77 ERA this season, including a 3.20 ERA in 45 innings across eight starts with Texas. Scherzer remains a premium bat-misser -- he struck out 174 batters in those 152 2/3 innings -- and missing bats is the name of the game in October.
Game 3 against the Houston Astros is Wednesday at Globe Life Field. Texas takes a 1-0 series lead into Game 2 on Tuesday. The Rangers are a perfect 6-0 this postseason and they are three wins away from the third pennant in franchise history.
The Astros have yet to announce their Game 3 starter. It is expected to be righty Cristian Javier.