MLB: Rangers get boost with return of Max Scherzer vs. Royals

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Three-time Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer will make his 2024 season debut on Sunday afternoon when the Texas Rangers go for their first three-game series sweep of the season against the Kansas City Royals in Arlington, Texas.

It will mark the start of the 17th major league season for the 39-year-old right-hander, who helped lead the Rangers to their first World Series championship last season following a trade-deadline deal with the New York Mets.

Scherzer, who has a career 214-108 record and 3.15 ERA, went 4-2 with a 3.20 ERA in eight starts with the Rangers before being shut down on Sept. 13 for the remainder of the regular season with a teres major strain. He came back to start three games in the postseason, including Game 3 of the World Series, before being shut down again with back pain.

Scherzer underwent herniated disc surgery in December and was placed on the injured list to begin the season with a nerve issue in his thumb. He made three rehab starts for Triple-A Round Rock and compiled a 4.91 ERA with 11 strikeouts in 11 innings.

Scherzer, who is 12-5 with a 3.34 ERA in 22 career starts against Kansas City, originally was slated to start Saturday but had his start pushed back a day.

“We were being just ultra-careful,” Scherzer said. “I had shown some loss of grip strength over the past couple of days there so wanted to let that get completely out of the system, get my thumb and hand back in position. When you lose grip strength, that’s kind of a precursor before bad things happen to your arm. So wanted to make sure to get that fully behind me and then go out there and pitch.”

Scherzer said it’s been tough to watch the first three months of the season from the sidelines. Approaching the midway point of the season, Texas is 36-40 and in third place in the American League West, 7 1/2 games behind the Seattle Mariners.

“That’s the hand I’ve been dealt and now I’ve got a chance to go out and help the team win (Sunday),” Scherzer said. “I just want to go out there and compete and help the team win.”

Right-hander Alec Marsh (5-4, 4.37 ERA), who has never faced the Rangers in his career, will start for Kansas City. Marsh, who blanked the New York Yankees on one hit over seven innings in a June 13 start, comes in off a 7-5 loss at Oakland on Tuesday during which he allowed seven runs on seven hits in three-plus innings.

Texas has won the first two games of the series, including a 6-0 victory on Saturday afternoon. Wyatt Langford hit a grand slam homer to account for a four-run eighth for the Rangers while Jon Gray allowed just two singles over six innings for the Rangers.

“Huge,” Texas manager Bruce Bochy said of Langford’s home run. “Tight ballgame at that point so allowed us an opportunity to sit (closer Kirby) Yates and give him a break. … Now it’s a six-run lead instead of a two-run lead.”

It was the season-high fourth straight game with five or more runs for the Rangers. Meanwhile, Kansas City, which dropped to 2-6 on its nine-game road trip, tied a season-low with three hits and has scored just 11 runs over its past six games.

One bright spot for the Royals was that Michael Wacha, making his first start since suffering a fractured left foot on a Luis Arraez comebacker on May 31, allowed just one run on three hits over five innings.

“Overall felt like stuff was good,” Wacha said. “Was able to put guys away at times when I needed to. Felt like it was a good one to build on.”

–Field Level Media

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