The Los Angeles Dodgers pitching staff is somewhat decimated by injuries, even though they have managed to catch the San Francisco Giants at the top of the National League West division.
Yet Max Scherzer, one of their top starters, is currently nursing a nagging hamstring injury.
It has been described as tightness, but it was bothersome enough to force him to an early exit in his last start on Wednesday.
The team has already announced that Scherzer is expected to make his next scheduled start after exiting Wednesday’s outing.
That day, he twirled six scoreless innings with nine punchouts while only throwing 76 pitches.
He did this after his hamstring tightened up during pre-game warmups.
Max Scherzer said his hamstring tightened up in the first inning, which was while he was pulled after 76 pitches.
— Fabian Ardaya (@FabianArdaya) September 2, 2021
It Doesn’t Sound Like A Major Concern, But…
For now, it doesn’t sound like a major issue, but every time a 37-year-old pitcher suffers a soft tissue injury of any kind, it’s cause for concern.
The Dodgers need to be cautious with Scherzer because he is a truly elite, postseason-proven MLB ace.
Dustin May is not around, after he underwent Tommy John surgery in May.
Trevor Bauer is not around, after his administrative leave was extended through September 10 and will likely be extended again.
Clayton Kershaw is currently on the shelf, although he is expected back relatively soon.
The Dodgers should treat the situation carefully because they invested a lot of resources to get Scherzer.
Gray and Ruiz could be regular contributors for the Washington Nationals for a long time, and that has value.
For now, Scherzer is needed in the Dodgers’ rotation, but perhaps the team should skip his next turn just to give his hamstring a few more days to fully heal.
It’s certainly better to have Scherzer available for a hypothetical Wild Card game, or Game 1 of the Division Series, than not having him at all because he aggravated a hamstring injury.
Severe Depth Issues
Injuries and legal issues have severely decimated the team depth.
the man put a starting rotation group of:
Kershaw, Scherzer, Buehler, Bauer, Urias, May & Gonsolin
The injuries & legal issues are out of his control. Going into the season it was widely agreed upon that the Dodgers were #1 in the league in SP pitching depth.
— Tío Jeff (@jeffreywhatever) August 30, 2021
At this point, the Dodgers, with a 13.5-game advantage over the second Wild Card team (the Cincinnati Reds as of Friday afternoon), have to think about getting their players healthy for the postseason.
Of course, winning the division would be a desirable outcome, but the Giants are dealing with rotation depth issues of their own.
It’s a level-playing field, and skipping Scherzer’s Monday start would definitely help his ailing hamstring.
Even if the Dodgers fail to leapfrog the Giants for the division lead and have to play the Wild Card game, it would be at home and, since it’s an all-cards-on-deck game, everyone would be available, including a healthy Scherzer and, hopefully, a healthy Kershaw.
Los Angeles, more specifically manager Dave Roberts, decided not to skip Scherzer’s next start.
While it’s understandable given the fact that Los Angeles wants to take the division at this point, it’s also playing with fire, risking the health of Scherzer’s hamstring over the long haul.
Let’s just hope he makes it through the outing unscathed.