Texas Rangers starter Max Scherzer exited Game 3 of the World Series on Monday night prior to the bottom of the fourth inning with a back issue. Scherzer, after the game, told reporters that he is dealing with back spasms. His availability for the remainder of the 2023 World Series against the Arizona Diamondbacks is to be determined.
Scherzer, 39, had thrown three shutout innings against the D-backs prior to his departure in the eventual 3-1 win. He had held the D-backs to two hits and two walks.
After the game, Scherzer explained that the next two to three days will determine his status for the remainder of the series. The veteran would be in line to start a potential Game 7 should the series go the distance.
Max Scherzer says his back is not a strain, but a spasm. Says he’s had this happen before and clear in 48-72 hours, and other times it has been worse. Won’t know which this is for a couple of days.— Levi Weaver (@ThreeTwoEephus) October 31, 2023
There was a notable play in the bottom of the second, when Scherzer was struck by an Alek Thomas batted ball in the lower back. It's possible that Scherzer's back tightness was either the result of the impact, or of the quick reflexive movement he made.
To replace Scherzer, Bochy inserted fellow righty Jon Gray, who went on to throw three scoreless innings of his own in the victory.
Game 3 represented Scherzer's third start since suffering a strained teres major muscle in his right shoulder in mid-September. He was supposed to miss at least two months because of that injury. Instead, Scherzer rejoined the Rangers rotation ahead of the American League Championship Series. He subsequently made two starts against the Astros, albeit performing below his usual standards.
That Scherzer's departure necessitated Gray's insertion complicates matters for the Rangers heading forward. Game 4 on Tuesday night will be a bullpen game for both the Rangers and Diamondbacks. Bochy does have other veteran starters in his bullpen that he could turn to for a few innings, including lefties Andrew Heaney, Martín Pérez, and Cody Bradford, and righty Dane Dunning.