Three-time Cy Young winner Max Scherzer made his much-anticipated Dodgers debut on Wednesday night at Dodger Stadium. After a brief rocky start, the outing was a rousing success. The offense -- led by a red-hot Mookie Betts -- provided plenty of support for Scherzer, too. At least for the first outing, this Scherzer-Dodgers marriage looked like a proverbial match made in heaven in a 7-5 Dodgers victory that got dicey late thanks to the Dodgers' shaky bullpen.
As noted, things didn't start off so rosy. After an obviously-popular strikeout of Jose Altuve to start things off, Scherzer coughed up a solo homer to Michael Brantley. Carlos Correa followed with a single and for just a brief moment, it would've been understandable for the Dodger faithful to let out a little, "uh oh."
Instead, Scherzer got the final two outs of the inning, including a strikeout to end the inning with a runner in scoring position, and then went into Mad Max mode. Sure, there were a few deep flies on the night, but that's what Yordan Alvarez does. Scherzer still had his classic strut going around the mound with his vintage intensity. He looked the part of an ace, as he generally always does.
The final line against one of the best offenses in baseball: 7 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 10 K
As for public enemy No. 1 for the Dodgers' crowd, Altuve, Scherzer struck him out all three times the two squared off. That went over well with the heckling crowd still aggrieved over the 2017 World Series and ensuing sign-stealing scandal revelations.
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts let Scherzer go to 109 pitches despite Scherzer having pitched only once since July 18 with a bout of triceps soreness in between. Why? Because he's Max freaking Scherzer, that's why. He was fine. He'll be fine moving forward.
Meantime, the Dodgers' offense scored seven runs through the first three innings. Mookie Betts led off the bottom of the first with a homer to immediately tie things up and added a two-run shot in the third. Will Smith and A.J. Pollock also went deep. It would be all the Dodgers needed.
A Correa homer in the eighth and two-run homer from Kyle Tucker in the ninth were a nice reminder how much having a starter like Scherzer on board to give the Dodgers seven strong innings will help moving forward. Yes, the bullpen needs to get right, but a starter who can go deep in the game helps everyone on the pitching staff.
At least for one night, the Dodgers' blockbuster deal that landed Scherzer and star shortstop Trea Turner paid huge dividends. They move to 65-44, but with the Giants' in in Arizona, remain 3 1/2 games back in the NL West.