Max Scherzer is a winner in every sense of the word
Scherzer has put the weight of the rotation on his shoulders and led by example
It’s not often a stellar performance from a future Hall of Famer gets lost in the noise of a dramatic day for a ballclub.
But before the Mets somehow pulled a rabbit out of their hat on Monday, smacking a five-spot against Cardinals closer Giovanny Gallegos on Monday night down two runs with two outs in the ninth, and before Trevor May’s slider wasn’t sliding to back the Mets up against that wall against Gallegos, there was Max Scherzer doing Max Scherzer things - he gave the Mets seven stellar innings once again, allowing just two hits and one walk while striking out ten Cardinal hitters.
Scherzer took a no-decision, but lowered his ERA to 1.80 for the season and has allowed just 11 hits over his first four starts and 25 innings. He has allowed just three hits in 14 innings over his last two starts.
It’s a shame Scherzer couldn’t have been rewarded for his stellar start, but he had no problem taking a no-decision on Monday, instead crediting Cardinals starter Miles Mikolas for an outstanding effort against the Mets.
“That’s baseball. Tip your hat off to Miles tonight,” Scherzer told reporters after the game. “He pitched a great game, he’s been throwing the ball well, he threw the ball well again tonight. Sometimes you run into a buzzsaw. He really did his job tonight.”
To be fair, Scherzer was right - Mikolas was outstanding and completely stymied the Mets offense himself over seven innings - he didn’t allow a baserunner to reach third base the entire night.
But it’s on these nights the Mets need an ace to counter with.
Scherzer is fourth in the big leagues with 0.8 fWAR among qualified starting pitchers. Opposing hitters are hitting just .129 against him, the best mark in baseball. His 11.88 strikeouts-per-nine innings and 35.1 percent strikeout rate are the fifth-best mark in the game.
It’s just Scherzer being Scherzer. Leading by example and setting the example for his fellow colleagues in the starting rotation. Even on a night when his performance became a footnote.
Yeah, calling his performance a footnote is a tad unfair - without Scherzer’s effort, perhaps there is no ninth inning rally, or a ninth inning rally that would’ve fallen short. But he didn’t grab the headline as he otherwise should have with his shutdown effort on the mound, but of course, he doesn’t care about that.
“We’re just playing good team baseball,” Scherzer explained. “Everybody’s got a hand in this in doing something for the team, on and off the field.”
Of course, it’s only four starts and 25 innings. But as long as Scherzer is healthy, we know where this is going in all probability for him in 2022.
Scherzer has not just lived up to the expectations, but exceeded them considering he has been forced to put the entire weight of the rotation on his shoulders in the absence of Jacob deGrom. He has pushed through his own early season injury to be there in the name of the team, proving once again he is a winner in every sense of the word.
That alone matters more than the statistics and more than what his stuff and talent on the mound can provide a club. Scherzer has a winning presence, attitude and approach to pitching - that intangible is the baseline for Scherzer’s Hall of Fame resume.
And, Scherzer’s antics and histrionics on the mound are wildly entertaining.
He is the model player and personality for the sport and an absolute treat to watch every five days no matter what uniform he is wearing.