Originally published by DodgerBlue.com
Max Scherzer was in the midst of another dominant start Wednesday night when he curiously was removed after just 76 pitches over six innings. The Los Angeles Dodgers held a 2-0 lead over the Atlanta Braves but had a short bullpen with Blake Treinen and Kenley Jansen unavailable.
Brusdar Graterol surrendered a game-tying home run in the seventh inning, and Alex Vesia allowed a go-ahead homer in the eighth, which only fueled criticism aimed at Dodgers manager Dave Roberts.
While some of his in-game decisions have justifiably been subject to question in seasons past, Roberts’ hands were effectively tied.
“I came out because I had a tight hammy. It tightened up the first warmups in the game,” Scherzer revealed after the Dodgers’ 4-3 win. “Going out there for the first inning, I felt my hammy tighten up a little bit. I didn’t injure it, I just knew it was tight.
“From there, just had to pitch almost throttled down. I couldn’t fully get into my back leg. I’ve had this happen in the past. There’s times when it just happens and you’ve got to work around it. You might not be able to step one every fastball the same way but you can still pitch.
“When I’ve been in those situations before, you just stick with your gameplan and try to execute around that.”
Scherzer certainly managed quite well despite the right hamstring tightness as he held the Braves scoreless and allowed just three hits. He also finished with nine strikeouts, his second-highest total in six starts for L.A.
Scherzer’s outing against the Braves came an extra day of rest but he was expected to be on a normal turn next week. That still should hold true despite the minor hamstring trouble.
“This is just something that pops up. It’s something you’ve got to deal with,” Scherzer said. “I’ve had this in the past and you just get treatment on it, listen to trainers and do what they want you to.
“In the past I’ve always been able to make my next start, and I definitely think I’ll be able to make my next start.”
Roberts appreciated Scherzer being honest
Scherzer alerted Dodgers pitching coach Mark Prior of his right hamstring tightness and plans to pitch through it unless the discomfort became too overwhelming. He never reached that point, but could sense the threshold was nearing and thus asked out of the start after six innings.
“He’s a competitor. He felt it in the warmup for the first inning and he just said he was going to go as long as he can without putting himself or the team in jeopardy,” Roberts said.
“You can just see he wasn’t leaning on the fastball and really letting it rip, but he was mixing and executing. After that sixth inning he just gave me a look that that was it. For me, I respect that.
“I love him for being honest. I expect him to make his next start. We had other guys pick us up. That’s what a team does. Obviously the way Max was throwing, you always feel good.”
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