The budding love affair between the Los Angeles Dodgers and Max Scherzer will be on full display Saturday afternoon when the right-hander makes his fourth start with his new club while facing the visiting New York Mets.
Scherzer received a curtain call from Dodgers fans on Aug. 4 when he struck out 10 Houston Astros batters while making his debut for the World Series champions. Scherzer (10-4, 2.69 ERA) was acquired at the July 30 trade deadline along with infielder Trea Turner for four prospects.
Scherzer’s next two starts were on the road, first at Philadelphia on Aug. 10 in an outing that was cut to 3 1/3 innings because of rain. He pitched again Sunday and beat the host Mets by giving up just two runs in six innings.
Los Angeles is 3-0 in Scherzer’s three starts, and he does not have a loss since May 30 as a member of the Nationals. He is 6-0 with a 3.10 ERA over his past 11 starts.
The Dodgers scored 14 runs in Scherzer’s most recent outing, but they also played shaky defense behind the ace in the game against the Mets. That is something manager Dave Roberts wants to see improved.
“I know the line score said he went six (against the Mets), but he actually went 7-plus,” Roberts said. “We didn’t play good defense behind him, infield defense. (We) gave away bases, outs. But for him, he didn’t bat an eye.
“Can’t say enough about him, but I think we made it a little more difficult than it should have been.”
Not much has been problematic for the Dodgers of late with the club on an eight-game winning streak after a 3-2 victory over the Mets on Friday. Los Angeles is also 5-0 against New York, all since last weekend, with two more games remaining in the season series.
The Dodgers have won 12 of their past 13 games as they hold the second-best record in baseball. The problem is that the division-rival San Francisco Giants have the best record and lead the National League West by 1 1/2 games.
The Mets are in a freefall, losing seven of their last eight games to go from a half-game out of first place on Aug. 13 to six games behind the first-place Atlanta Braves after Friday’s defeat.
Help could be on the way soon, with infielders Francisco Lindor and Javier Baez both facing live pitching before Friday’s game against the Dodgers. Lindor has not played since July 16 because of a right oblique strain, while Baez has been out since Aug. 12 due to back spasms.
“Both of those guys had a good day again, a big step,” Mets manager Luis Rojas said Friday. “We’ll see. It’s still pending to see if they are going to be activated, maybe for this weekend or for next series.”
Mets scheduled starter Rich Hill (6-4, 4.08 ERA) has just one career appearance against the Dodgers, a scoreless six-inning start in 2007 when he was a member of the Chicago Cubs. In four seasons with the Dodgers, he was 30-16 with a 3.16 ERA and pitched for the team in the 2017 and 2018 World Series.
–Field Level Media