Texas Rangers’ Max Scherzer ties Hall of Famer in his injury-delayed, season debut

Max Scherzer made a dazzling season debut Sunday, throwing five scoreless innings while allowing only one hit with four strikeouts and no walks in the Texas Rangers’ 4-0 victory over the Kansas City Royals at Globe Life Field.

“It was just fun to get back out there and compete, be on the mound and being in sync with the game,” said Scherzer.

Scherzer was sensational from the game’s onset, retiring the first 13 Royals batters he faced on only 44 pitches. In the fourth inning, he made history with the 3,371st strikeout of his career which tied him with Hall of Famer Greg Maddux for 11th all-time on the MLB’s strikeout leaderboard.

Rangers manager Bruce Bochy was impressed by the three-time Cy Young Award winner’s first start of the season.

“I’ll be honest, we weren’t sure exactly where he was, I mean, he had some rehab starts but it just makes you appreciate how good this man is,” said Bochy, “His first start back, throw the ball like that...just incredible job what he did tonight. So it’s good to see him out there. “

Despite a relatively low 57-pitch count, Scherzer was taken out after the fifth inning as he continues to deal with nerve issues related to his thumb.

“I just don’t know how I’m gonna recover from this. The thumb issue it’s still there, the radial nerve, radial line,” said Scherzer, “I was feeling my forearm kind of fatigue...that’s been the issue at hand here. So after the fifth thing I felt like we got enough work in,” said Scherzer.

Scherzer wanted to make sure he could be at his best for his next start and said he was fully aware of his limitations.

“We were really trying to maximize what I can do five days out. Like there’s not an off day. I have to make the next start on five days,” said Scherzer, “Hopefully, I don’t go backwards, hopefully, I’m able to take this and continue to ramp up and continue to go forward. But yeah, this is still an issue,” said Scherzer.

The Rangers won their fourth straight game and earned their first three-game series sweep of the season.

Scherzer missed the beginning of the season recovering from a herniated disk in his lower back and had his comeback further delayed by a nerve issue in his thumb, forearm and triceps.

Corey Seager praised Scherzer for his performance pointing out how hard it can be to rebound from injuries.

“Any time you miss time, it’s hard, especially missing time to start the’s a long time to not play and compete and be on the mound and have the feel and have the adrenaline, just have the atmosphere, right?” said Seager, “Shows the true veteran he is to be able to come out there and calm his nerves, attack people, and be super productive.”

Scherzer went 0-1 in three appearances giving up six runs off 10 hits in 10.3 innings of work while pitching for the Rangers triple-A affiliate, the Round Rock Express.

The last time Scherzer took the mound for the Rangers was in game 3 of the World Series where he contributed three innings of shutout baseball in the team’s 3-1 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Last season he went 4-2 with a 3.20 ERA after being acquired by the Rangers from the New York Mets in July 2023.

The Rangers took the lead thanks to a three-run fourth inning kickstarted by a Wyatt Langford double which scored Adolis Garcia and was extended by a Leody Taveras two-out two-run single which scored Langford and Nathaniel Lowe.

Josh Smith added a solo home run in the bottom of the seventh, his second in as many days, to extend the Ranger lead to four.

Jose Urena came on in relief and contributed four more shutout innings allowing only one hit, giving the Rangers their second shutout in a row.

The Rangers begin a three-game series with the Milwaukee Brewers on Monday at American Family Field.