For a few minutes on Thursday, it looked like the Rangers had made a massive mistake.
The first batter Max Scherzer faced singled, and so did the second. Scherzer walked the fourth batter to load the bases, and then he walked in a run. A single plated two more, and it looked like it was going to be a long day for the three-time Cy Young winner.
Fortunately, Scherzer snapped out of it. He got out of the jam, finished the inning, and then finished five more. He did not allow any more runs, giving his teammates time to rally for a 5-3 win in his Rangers debut.
That's the good thing about veteran pitchers. They don't panic when things go wrong. They keep their composure, trust their stuff, and keep battling, one hitter at a time.
Max Scherzer Rangers Debut
It wasn't a perfect start for Scherzer by any means, but it was a gutsy, gritty performance in the heat of a playoff race -- the kind you'd expect from a 39-year-old future Hall of Famer. Fans and analysts alike were quick to praise him for settling down and finding his groove en route to 9 strikeouts and his 211th career win.
Texas should expect plenty more where that came from. Scherzer has seen it all at this point, so he's not going to unravel after one bad inning.
Scherzer may be a bit past his prime in his 16th season, but he's still an effective pitcher (10-4, 4.50 ERA). He's also a great fit for this Rangers team with his veteran leadership and experience. As a guy who's won a World Series and had success in big market teams, he's exactly the type of pitcher you want leading your staff during a pennant race.
With Jacob deGrom out for the year, Texas needed an ace if it wanted to be considered a true World Series contender. Based on Scherzer's first start, it has one now.