Perhaps the two most glorious words the Rangers could hear on the Friday before the American League Championship Series.
The thirty-nine-year-old Rangers starter Max Scherzer told reporters Friday he’s ready to go. “I checked all the boxes I possibly can.” The future Hall-of-Famer added, “I respect what Houston can do. They’re obviously a great team. I’ve got to bring my A-game.”
So, now the guessing games begin.
Do they activate Max Scherzer for the Championship Series? Seems like a no-brainer.
How do they use him? Game 1 starter? After all, they’ve already named Jordan Montgomery as their Game 1 starter, but things can change. And how can one not be tempted by a Justin Verlander versus Max Scherzer matchup?
Does Scherzer even start at all, since he’s been on the shelf so long? What could they reasonably expect of him? Remember Eovali’s first few starts after returning from injury? But Scherzer, don’t forget, is bionic.
Do they bring him in out of the bullpen as their not-so-secret secret weapon? Would he do more good going a few innings here and there?
And, the biggest question of all, who loses their roster spot because of him? Is it Matt Bush? How can the Rangers expect to keep winning without Matt Bush and all he has done for this team? He’s warmed up in the bullpen at least three times.
Maybe he replaces Aroldis Chapman in a “clerical error.”
Since coming over from the Mets at the trade deadline, Scherzer started eight games for the Rangers, going 4-2, with a 3.20 ERA.
But if Max Scherzer is ready to go for the Championship Series, this gives the Rangers such a huge shot in the arm and bolsters a rotation that has already been strong.
Rangers starters this postseason: 2.22 ERA. Houston: 3.00.
Rangers relievers this postseason: 2.16 ERA. Houston: 3.60
Rangers OPS, .789. Houston, .768.
Pretty darn even series. Max Scherzer might just tip the balance in the Rangers favor.
Game 1: Sunday at Houston, 7:15 p.m.
Game 2: Monday at Houston, 3:37 p.m.
Game 3: Wednesday at The Shed, 7:03 p.m.
Game 4: Thursday at The Shed, 7:03 p.m.
Game 5: Friday at The Shed, 4:07 p.m.
Game 6: Sunday, Oct. 22 at Houston, 7:03 p.m.
Game 7:Monday, Oct. 23 at Houston, 7:03 p.m.