PHOENIX — Max Scherzer is prepared to start in World Series Game 3 despite dealing with a cut on his pitching thumb. The injury occurred when he returned to the game on October 18 after a five-week break due to a strained muscle in his shoulder. However, Scherzer stated that the cut won’t affect his performance in the game against the Arizona Diamondbacks, with the series currently 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, adding that he improvised with some materials in the training room.
Rookie Brandon Pfaadt will be starting for the Diamondbacks, who won the previous game 9-1 after losing the series opener 6-5 in 11 innings.
Scherzer, a 39-year-old right-hander, was acquired in a trade with the New York Mets on July 30. During the regular season, he had a record of 4-2 with a 3.20 ERA in eight starts for the Texas Rangers.
He injured his shoulder on September 12 but made a comeback to pitch in the AL Championship Series against Houston. However, Scherzer struggled, allowing five runs over four innings in Game 3 and two runs in 2 2/3 innings in Game 7 without earning a decision.
“I can throw a fastball 100%,” Scherzer assured, “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 25-year-old right-hander, made his major league debut against Texas on May 3, giving up seven runs in 4 2/3 innings. He was sent to the minors twice during the season and finished with a 3-9 record and a 5.72 ERA. So far in the postseason, Pfaadt has pitched in four games with a 2.70 ERA and no decisions.
The Diamondbacks have become more aware of Pfaadt’s abilities based on his recent 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 has previously started in three World Series games, earning a 1-0 record with a 3.86 ERA. He won the Cy Young Award three times and pitched for the Detroit Tigers, the Washington Nationals, and now the Texas Rangers.
Pfaadt, on the other hand, didn’t watch much of last year’s World Series between the Houston Astros and the Philadelphia Phillies. However, he has found a new interest in sports this year, particularly fantasy football.
In Game 2, Mitch Garver hit a home run off Arizona’s Merrill Kelly on a sinker just 17.5 inches above the ground. According to MLB Statcast, it was the lowest pitch Garver homered on this year.
“I felt like just swung with my eyes closed,” said Garver. “I could have just as easily swung through that pitch and nobody would bat an eye.”