As 2021 became 2022, the New York Mets’ newest pitcher Max Scherzer has opened up about the dead arm issue that prevented him from pitching in Game Six of the NLCS. After the 2021 season with the Los Angeles Dodgers, Scherzer became a free agent, signed with Steve Cohen’s Mets. He got an absorbently huge contract netting him just over $43 million annually over the three-year term. What Scherzer had to say recently must have given Cohen pause and concern.
The 38-year-old Scherzer, who posted an elite 1.98 ERA in 11 regular seasons, starts with the Dodgers, seems to blame the Los Angeles Dodgers for his dead arm.
Scherzer, in lowering his workload, ultimately compromised his performance.
In 2019 with the Washington Nationals, he pitched an average of 103 pitches per game over far more games. But he averaged only 94 pitches with the Dodgers in only 11 regular season starts. In addition, 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. He stated that he could have easily gone another two innings in both games.
Scherzer said that the Dodgers watching his pitch count lowered his ‘work capacity’. Ultimately, he was ‘compromised’ as a result and was unable to perform as 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 with the Dodgers at the deadline, compared to the 103 pitches he threw per start with the Nationals in 2019.
He also pointed out that in 2019 he made twelve of his twenty-seven starts of four days rest which is 44% of the time. With the Dodgers, the four-game stat was just 36%. He claimed that the Dodgers used him differently than he was used to and did not fully stretch him out. He said that if the Dodgers used him like the Nationals did, he probably wouldn’t have experienced the dead arm issue at the end of the season.
Looking at the issue head-on, there is no escaping that his advanced age could also have been a contributing factor. Cohen and company certainly hope that Max does not suffer the same with the Mets, as his $130 million contract was inked to get the Mets to the postseason and beyond.