PHOENIX – Max Scherzer is being glued together to make his start in World Series Game 3.
The three-time Cy Young Award winner has a cut on his pitching thumb that developed when he returned Oct. 18 from a five-week layoff caused by a strained muscle in his right shoulder. He said it won’t bother him when he starts for the Texas Rangers on Monday with the Series against the Arizona Diamondbacks tied 1-1.
“Found a way to use cotton and Super Glue in a way that provides a layer for that not to get cut, as well,” Scherzer said Sunday. “A little arts and crafts in the training room at times, but that’s what you’ve got to do.”
Rookie Brandon Pfaadt starts for the Diamondbacks, who won 9-1 Saturday after losing the opener 6-5 in 11 innings.
Scherzer, a 39-year-old right-hander, was obtained in a trade with the New York Mets on July 30. He went 4-2 with a 3.20 ERA in eight starts for Texas during the regular season.
He injured the shoulder on Sept. 12 and returned to make a pair of starts in the AL Championship Series against Houston, going 0-1 with a 9.45 ERA . Scherzer allowed five runs over four innings and took the loss in Game 3, and then gave up two runs in 2 2/3 innings in a no-decision in Game 7.
“I can throw a fastball 100 percent,” he said. “It’s how many pitches I can make in a start. That’s the number we don’t have nailed down to 100 percent.”
Pfaadt, a boyish-faced 25-year-old right-hander, made his major league debut at Texas on May 3. He allowed seven runs and nine hits in 4 2/3 innings, giving up a pair of home runs to Josh Jung and one each to Jonah Heim and Leody Taveras.
“That debut day was kind of a blur,” Pfaadt said.
He was demoted to the minors from May 27 to June 29 and again from June 30 to July 22, and he finished with a 3-9 record and a 5.72 ERA. Pfaadt has a 2.70 ERA with no decisions in four postseason starts.
The Diamondbacks have greater awareness of Pfaadt following his late-season performances.
“For the first time ever, three weeks ago me and Ryne Nelson went out to eat,” Pfaadt said, referring to a teammate. “This kid walks up and says, `Hey, can I have a picture? And we’re, like, wait, does he recognize us or he just wants a picture? It was a pretty cool moment.”
Scherzer is 1-0 with a 3.86 ERA in three World Series starts, getting a no-decision for Detroit against San Francisco in 2012’s Game 4, winning the 2019 opener for Washington at Houston and getting a no-decision in the Game 7 win after getting scratched from a Game 5 start because an irritated nerve near his neck.
“This is crazy to say it’s my third World Series, but here I have such another opportunity to live out my dream,” Scherzer said.
Pfaadt didn’t watch much of last year’s Series between Houston and Philadelphia. He was back home in Louisville, Kentucky, after winning the Triple-A championship game for Reno against Oklahoma City.
“I don’t really even watch sports, to be honest. I think I watched one World Series game last year,” he said. “This is my first year of fantasy football so I just started watching football. I kind of like it.”
Mitch Garver’s fifth-inning home run off Arizona’s Merrill Kelly in Game 2 was on a sinker just 17.5 inches above the ground, the lowest pitch Garver homered on this year, according to MLB Statcast.
“I felt like just swung with my eyes closed,” Garver said Sunday. “I could have just as easily swung through that pitch and nobody would bat an eye.”
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