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Max Scherzer's bounce back the key in a 5-0 shutout win over the Padres
Max Scherzer leaned on his fastball and made certain other adjustments to right his ship against San Diego on Monday
What’s Up with the Mets? ⚾️
The Mets shutout Yu Darvish and the Padres 5-0 at Citi Field on Monday (box)
RHP Max Scherzer bounced back for his first Scherzer-like effort on Monday, giving the Mets five shutout innings with six strikeouts to earn his first win of the year
The Mets bullpen combined for four innings of scoreless relief
Francisco Lindor and Jeff McNeil each doubled and drove in two runs, with Eduardo Escobar providing the other run with a seventh inning sacrifice fly
Brandon Nimmo stole his third base of the season on Monday, matching his total from the 2022 season
The Mets earned their first shutout win of the season on Monday, and improved to 3-1 on their current homestand
Who’s Hot 🔥
Francisco Lindor has six hits, three doubles, six RBI and five runs over his last five games.
Mark Canha has doubled in a career-high-tying three straight games and has five extra-base hits through nine games this season - he did not record an extra-base hit until his 15th game in 2022
Injury Updates 🏥
OF Starling Marte (neck strain) is day-to-day after leaving Sunday’s game following a collision with Marlins’ 3B Jean Segura
Today’s Game 🗓
Match-up: Mets (6-5) vs. Padres (6-6)
Where: Citi Field - Flushing, NY
Starters: LHP David Peterson (0-1, 6.00 ERA) vs. LHP Ryan Weathers (0-0, 3.60 ERA)
When: 7:10 PM EDT
Where to Watch: SNY
Breath of fresh air? Sigh of relief? Maybe both from Max Scherzer on Monday… ✍🏻
The season’s first ten games were filled with inconsistency by the Mets, as indicated by their up-and-down 5-5 start.
The offense at times has staggered, specifically against left-handed pitching, and others it has looked like the lengthy, patient, contact-centric unit they’re expected to be.
The pitching - be it in the rotation or the bullpen - has been generally hit or miss in the early part of the season as well, with Tylor Megill and Kodak Senga being perhaps their best starters through the season’s first ten games and John Curtiss and Adam Ottavino offering as much stability as they can behind them.
But like last year, no matter what happens with the offense or any other area believed to be a deficiency for the Mets, the club is only going to go as far as Max Scherzer and eventually Justin Verlander take them.
They are the $86 million key to the Mets hopes and dreams in 2023.
But 2023 hadn’t gotten off to the start either they or anyone else has expected it would. First off, we haven’t even seen Verlander don the pinstripes yet, although he hopes he’s inside a couple of week of making his Mets debut. As for Scherzer, well, he had a 7.63 ERA heading into his start against the Padres on Monday. And if you recall, the last time Scherzer faced San Diego he got clubbed for seven runs in four innings in Game 1 of the National League Wild Card Series at Citi Field back on October 7.
In his first two starts of the season in 2023, he had allowed four home runs in only 11 innings, including three on back-to-back-to-back homers in the sixth inning against the Brewers in his last start, all on three hanging breaking balls.
So in came Yu Darvish and the Padres and that lingering burn from just over six months ago. Darvish, if you recall, dazzled the Mets opposite Scherzer that very same night in the playoffs. But the tables turned in what was obviously a less meaningful game on Monday, although Darvish pitched pretty well against the Mets for six innings last night before hitting a wall himself in the seventh.
As for Scherzer, this was a seriously meaningful start in that otherwise less meaningful game. He was up against that potent lineup headlined by former future Met Manny Machado and potential future Met Juan Soto, flanked by star shortstop Xander Bogaerts and Jake Cronenworth, and that nagging burn the Padres left the Mets with after celebrating their Wild Card series win last October 9.
Only this time, after fixing what had gone so terribly wrong for him in the sixth inning against Miami and Milwaukee in his first two starts, Scherzer peeled off five scoreless innings against that star-studded Padre lineup, allowing only one hit and three walks with six strikeouts, lowering his early-season ERA by more than three runs to 4.41 for his second win of the season.
It was a fastball-heavy effort from Scherzer on Monday but his slider was especially effective and served as a good off-shoot from that fastball. He managed a 44 percent swing-and-miss rate on that slider which never dipped below 92 mph among the 22 he threw.
But from Scherzer’s perspective, it was more about making some smaller adjustments to get himself on track, which led to better execution of those pitches rather than better pitch selection.
“I thought I self-diagnosed right,” he said after the game. “I’m not broken. I wasn’t broken after the Milwaukee start. I didn’t have to reinvent the wheel, just had to fine-tune some things. That’s baseball. If you follow the results, you can make yourself go crazy at times. You’ve got to be able to reflect on what’s actually happening and know where you’re getting beat. I thought I identified the right things to be able to do, and I made better pitches because of that.”
Time will tell if the glue holds. He’s still working to adjust to the pace of the game. It’s hard after pitching 15 years in the big leagues to suddenly be forced to change one’s in-game routine. That and the stamina issues the quickened pace present, plus the quicker up-downs in the dugout are all a challenge for Scherzer and everyone else.
But Monday’s start for Scherzer provided both a breath of fresh air and a sigh of relief for the club in an ace who co-holds the map to the Canyon of Heroes in 2023.
Even if its just for a few days.
Around the League 🚩
The Rays ran their season-opening winning streak to ten games with a 1-0 over the Red Sox - they’re the first team since the 1987 Brewers to open a season with ten straight wins
The Phillies blew out the Marlins 15-3, highlighted by a six RBI night from Alec Bohm
Red Sox OF Adam Duvall has a fractured wrist, but will not require surgery (MLB.com)
Rockies RHP German Marquez left his start on Monday with tightness in his forearm (Denver Post)
Marlins RHP JT Chargois was placed on the injured list after sustaining an oblique strain in his outing against the Mets on Sunday (Miami Herald)
The Pirates announced SS O’Neill Cruz will be out at least four months following surgery to repair the fractured ankle he sustained on Sunday