Mets pitching on the upswing with vintage Scherzer performance in Colorado
The Mets improve to 7-2 over their last nine games. Plus, how we're finally starting to get a look at vintage Max Scherzer again lately.
What’s Up with the Mets? ⚾️
The Mets won their second straight game, edging out the Rockies 5-2 (box)
RHP Max Scherzer had his best start of the season, allowing just one run with eight strikeouts over seven innings
SS Francisco Lindor was 2-for-4 at the plate with a home run (8), four RBI and two runs scored
CF Brandon Nimmo went 2-for-2 with two triples, three walks and three runs scored in the victory
Nimmo is the 15th player in Mets history to have at least two triples in the same game
RHP Adam Ottavino converted the save in the 9th, stranding the tying run at the plate
The Mets are now 12-0 this season in games where their pitcher made a quality start
Who’s Hot 🔥
CF Brandon Nimmo is hitting .438/.526/.875 with a double, three triples, two RBI, six runs scored and a 1.401 OPS on the club’s current road trip
In the month of May, C Francisco Álvarez is batting .305/.388/.644 with five doubles, five home runs, 11 RBI, nine runs scored and a 1.032 OPS
Today’s Game 🗓
Match-up: Mets (27-25) vs. Rockies (22-30)
Where: Coors Field - Denver, CO
Starters: RHP Justin Verlander (2-2, 3.60 ERA) vs RHP Chase Anderson (0-0, 1.15 ERA)
When: 9:10 PM EDT
Where to Watch: WPIX
Hello, Mad Max, it’s nice to see you again… ✍🏼
Well, well, well…
After being written off earlier this season by a Just Mets writer who shall remain nameless (okay, it was me), it looks as if there may still be some life in that arm of Max Scherzer after all.
The way the 2022 season ended for Scherzer and the Mets was a difficult pill to swallow, as the veteran ace got bombed in his two most important starts of the year. In their final regular season series against the Braves and his lone playoff start against the Padres, Scherzer pitched to a 9.00 ERA with 11 earned runs and six home runs allowed in just 11 innings pitched; the Mets lost both of those games.
With a bad taste already in the mouth of this fanbase this season did not start too much better for Mad Max, who dealt with a number of minor health issues and was pitching to a 5.56 ERA and a 6.29 FIP over his first five starts of the year. During that time, opposing hitters were batting .259/.333/.518 with an .851 OPS against Scherzer, whose velocity was notably down from the season prior, often sitting between 91-92 miles per hour.
Things had gotten so bad that Scherzer commented on his velocity himself following a blowout loss to the Tigers, which may have represented the right-hander’s rock bottom for 2023.
“To have velo down like that, I’ve gotta figure out answers for that,” Scherzer said at the start of this month. “I don’t have them tonight.”
While his velocity has not seen too much of an uptick since then – Scherzer’s fastball is averaging the same 93.2 MPH in May as it did in April – it would certainly appear that the club’s co-ace has begun to figure out how to pitch more effectively with a less electric fastball.
In his three starts since getting beatdown in Motown, Scherzer has pitched to a 1.00 ERA and a 2.57 FIP with batters posting just a .486 OPS against him. In that time span, Scherzer is striking out 9.5 batters per nine innings – up from the 8.2 strikeouts per nine mark in his first five starts.
Not only have the results changed, but the way Scherzer has used his arsenal has changed a bit, as well. In the month of May, Scherzer has thrown his fastball 44.2 percent of the time (down 5.2 percent from April) while increasing the usage of his secondary pitches. This month Scherzer’s change-up usage has increased 4.3 percent while his curveball (up 2.4 percent) and cutter (up 2.5 percent) have been used more frequently as well. It is also worth noting that while he’s been throwing most of his secondary pitches far more often this past month that Scherzer’s slider is the one break pitch that he has been using less, decreasing from 20.6 percent in April to 16.5 percent in May – the biggest difference in any of his secondary pitches to date.
It will be interesting to see how Scherzer continues to remake himself on the fly, but it appears as if he’s only growing stronger. Mad Max is now coming off of his best start of the season, going seven innings and throwing 100-plus pitches in a game for the first time in 2023, all while allowing just one run in the unfriendly confines of Coors Field.
If Scherzer truly has found a new form over these past three starts, that could bode incredibly fruitful for himself and the outlook of this Mets team that is still looking to get themselves back into gear.
As a wise man once said, “I want you to put the word out that we back up.”
Around the League 🚩
Padres OFs Fernando Tatis Jr. and Juan Soto both homered to power the club to a 5-1 victory over the Yankees
Rays RHP Tyler Glasnow was activated off the injured list and is scheduled to make his first start of the season on Saturday night
Phillies RHP Craig Kimbrel converted his 400th career save in the team’s win over the Braves in Atlanta
The Pirates hit a franchise-tying record seven home runs in their 11-6 win against the Mariners
Brewers SS Willy Adames was hospitalized after being struck by a foul ball in the dugout during the team’s 15-1 loss to the Giants