The Texas Rangers shouldn’t just be “happy to be there.” Their merciless 9-2 beating over the Houston Astros Sunday night tormented the opponent’s bullpen when they already had the lead in their grasp. They’ll play a Game 7 tonight with former New York Mets pitcher Max Scherzer called upon to start.
Rangers fans are already feeling the anxiety Mets fans locked themselves into with Scherzer. He took a beating in his one playoff start for the Mets last year. His one for the Rangers thus far was almost as bad.
Playoff Scherzer hasn’t won a game since the 2019 World Series. Not every start has been a total bust yet many have been underwhelming. He’s only 7-8 with a 3.80 ERA in his career during the playoffs. It’s a far cry from the Hall of Fame resume he established in the regular season.
Tonight, if he pitches another dud, the Mets find out how much closer they are to winning the Scherzer trade.
The Max Scherzer trade victory lap is far from over even if he stinks in Game 7
Because the Mets will still pay $20.83 million of Scherzer’s salary next season, they aren’t completely off the hook or the clear winner in this trade if Mad Max exits early and with a loss. The creativity in dumping him onto Texas and acquiring prospect Luisangel Acuna in the process had fans feeling good, but doubts do linger. A smart move doesn’t always work out as anticipated.
Bitter Mets fans might celebrate Scherzer’s downfall while awaiting to see if Acuna can indeed meet the expectations of being the organization’s number one prospect. His 37 games for the team after the trade deadline weren’t all that good. He went from a .315/.377/.453 hitter with Double-A Frisco down to a .243/.317/.304 guy with Binghamton.
An unexpected change in scenery midseason and upheaval of his personal belongings for a couple of months can be one of the reasons as to why Acuna struggled once joining the Mets organization. It can’t be easy to get traded in any circumstance let alone such a high profile deal.
Mets fans will have patience for Acuna who doesn’t turn 22 until next March. Rangers fans won’t have the same luxury with Scherzer. He was acquired for this exact game. Coming up short will obliterate the way they feel about him.
With the Rangers up 2-0 in the series, Scherzer started Game 3 only to leave after 4 innings and 5 runs across the board. It was a momentum-shifting appearance. The Astros won that game and the next two before Texas came back in Game 6.
Love him, hate him, or feeling nothing about him, it’s hard to avoid secondhand anxiety. The Rangers could have gone in so many other directions at the trade deadline. They chose Scherzer and right now they can’t feel confident he’ll close out the series.