The Texas Rangers have made some strategic moves to fortify their pitching staff ahead of their American League Championship Series (ALCS) showdown with the Houston Astros. Right-handed starters Max Scherzer and Jon Gray have been added to the Rangers’ roster, providing a significant boost to their pitching rotation. Manager Bruce Bochy expressed confidence in Scherzer’s progress after being sidelined with a shoulder strain since September 12, while Gray’s inclusion came after a positive assessment of his performance during practice. The Rangers, eager to make a strong postseason push, are now equipped with a formidable pitching staff to take on their rivals.
Acquired via a trade with the New York Mets in late July, Max Scherzer was a key addition to the Rangers’ roster. Originally expected to be their top starter in the postseason, Scherzer’s potential was in question after Jacob deGrom, the Rangers’ anticipated ace, underwent Tommy John surgery. However, Scherzer’s outstanding performances in eight starts for Texas dispelled any doubts about his capabilities. In just 45 innings, Scherzer struck out an impressive 53 batters, maintaining a remarkable 3.20 ERA and limiting opponents to a .174/.249/.311 line. Despite initial concerns about his season-ending injury, the Rangers’ dominant playoff run allowed Scherzer sufficient time to heal and make a significant impact in the upcoming ALCS.
Jon Gray, who signed a four-year, $56 million deal with the Rangers before the 2022 season, found himself on the injured list with right forearm tightness. Prior to his injury, Gray showcased his abilities in 29 games, throwing 157⅓ innings and earning a respectable 4.12 ERA. His presence in the rotation enhances the Rangers’ depth and adds stability in their quest for postseason success. Alongside Scherzer, Gray’s return is a significant boost for the team, particularly as they face off against the formidable Astros lineup.
The Rangers encountered several setbacks during the regular season, with injuries plaguing their roster. All-Stars such as catcher Jonah Heim, right fielder Adolis Garcia, and rookie third baseman Josh Jung missed substantial playing time, further compounded by the injuries to Scherzer and Gray. However, as the postseason approached, the Rangers regained their strength and are now operating at full capacity. This resurgence is largely attributed to the emergence of left-hander Jordan Montgomery, who joined the team from the St. Louis Cardinals at the trade deadline. Montgomery has seamlessly filled the role of the ace, boasting a remarkable 2.79 ERA in his 11 starts for the Rangers. Alongside him, Nathan Eovaldi has also proven his worth, allowing just one run in each of his starts during the playoffs. With the return of Scherzer and Gray, the Rangers’ pitching staff is now a force to be reckoned with.
With the inclusion of Scherzer and Gray, Manager Bruce Bochy now has more flexibility in managing the rotation. Scherzer, a three-time Cy Young Award winner, brings a wealth of postseason experience to the team. Given his impressive career record, he may be slotted as the Game 3 starter in the ALCS and also potentially utilized in a Game 7 scenario. Additionally, Bochy could consider Gray as the No. 4 starter, allowing Dane Dunning, who has excelled in both starting and relief roles, to transition back into a bullpen position. The Rangers’ bullpen has been a strength throughout October, despite initial concerns, making this adjustment a viable option for optimizing their pitching staff during the ALCS.
In sum, the additions of Max Scherzer and Jon Gray have significantly bolstered the Texas Rangers’ pitching staff. With their remarkable performances leading up to the playoffs and the team’s resurgence after a challenging regular season, the Rangers are poised to make a strong statement in the American League Championship Series. As they prepare to face their rivals, the Houston Astros, the Rangers’ pitching rotation is now a force to be reckoned with.
Source : ESPN.com