Mets shoot Astros to the stars as Max Scherzer, offense deliver 11-1 win
The Mets showed a pulse in Houston with one of Max Scherzer's best starts as a Met, plus big nights from both Francisco Lindor and Daniel Vogelbach to lead the offense
What’s Up with the Mets? ⚾️
The Mets crushed the Astros 11-1 on Monday night in Houston (box)
Max Scherzer delivered his longest outing as a Met on Monday, firing eight innings while allowing just a run on four hits with eight strikeouts
Francisco Lindor drove in five of the Mets 11 runs thanks to a three-run home run and a two-run double
Daniel Vogelbach also had a big night with a two-run single and a home run
Six Met players recorded at least two hits on the night
RHP Grant Hartwig made his major league debut for the Mets in the ninth inning and delivered a scoreless inning of relief
The Mets scored double-digit runs for the seventh time this season
The victory marked New York’s first win in Houston since the 2011 season
Roster Moves 📰
Selected the contract of RHP Grant Hartwig
Optioned RHP John Curtiss to Triple-A Syracuse
Injury Updates 🏥
C Francisco Álvarez was removed from Monday’s game after Martin Maldonado fouled a pitch off his right hand. X-rays were negative and he will be evaluated before Tuesday’s game
Today’s Game 🗓
Match-up: Mets (34-38) at Astros (39-34)
Where: Minute Maid Park – Houston, TX
Starters: RHP Justin Verlander(2-3, 4.40 ERA) vs LHP Framber Valdez (6-5, 2.27 ERA)
When: 8:10 PM EDT
Where to Watch: SNY
Notes: Vintage Scherzer, hope for Lindor, and pragmatism ahead of the trade deadline ✍️
For a night anyway, the Mets showed a pulse.
They blasted the Astros to the stars with a relaxing 11-1 win in Houston thanks to jolts from Max Scherzer on the mound and both Daniel Vogelbach and Francisco Lindor at the plate.
With the Mets season appearing to be teetering on the edge, Max Scherzer easily delivered his finest start for the Mets to-date on Monday and helped lift the Mets from the ashes of an embarrassing series against the Cardinals thanks to eight superb innings.
Thanks in large part to Scherzer last night, the Mets have a glimmer of hope.
This one came rather easily for the Mets thanks to Scherzer and his resurgent slider, a pitch which he has struggled to execute effectively over the course of the season. He dazzled the Astros with that pitch on Monday and leaned heavily on it to get him through those eight innings, leveraging it 31 times and inducing seven swings and misses on that pitch.
The Mets desperately needed a night like this from Scherzer, too. The Mets are operating short-handed in their bullpen thanks to the Drew Smith’s sticky stuff suspension and they were coming off a game in which Mets manager Buck Showalter needed five of his relievers to get through an aggravating loss on Sunday.
It was vintage Scherzer, and just what the doctor ordered for the Mets.
When Scherzer is putting on a clinic the way he did on Monday, he’s a lot of fun to watch. The movement on his pitches are electrifying when he’s on, and he gets into a zone most pitchers don’t ever find. He has struggled to find that consistency this year - whether that’s due to age, injury or both is anyone’s guess. But he showed on Monday it’s still in there for him and he’s still capable of being the co-ace the Mets signed him to be.
The question now is, can build momentum off of this start and show the Mets the way back into a playoff conversation?
The mysterious offense
As I say far too often here, time will tell.
As for the offense, it’s still a difficult read. They have certainly been hitting for more power recently, producing a .442 slugging percentage with 22 home runs and 73 runs scored over their last 13 games. But they’ve produced a .319 on-base percentage in that span while striking out 24 percent of the time.
It’s an all or nothing offense at the moment. But, at least they’re finally hitting for more power overall. And, they’re certainly scoring enough runs to win games right now and it’s coming down to the pitching staff and their general inability to keep the ball in the yard.
Francisco Lindor and his left-handed swing
Francisco Lindor and Daniel Vogelbach - two Mets who have badly struggled this season - led the way for the Mets against the Astros on Monday, producing eight of the Mets’ 11 runs on the night. For Lindor, he has generally stunk all year from the left side of the plate - even with his big night on Monday, he’s hitting just .202/.294/.363 against right-handed pitching this season.
So, hopefully Monday was a sign of things to come for Lindor from the left side as the Mets badly need him to turn his season around and provide meaningful protection for Pete Alonso, specifically from the left side where he has lacked any sort of consistent competence.
Looking ahead, realistically
Look - the Mets now have an uphill battle if they’re going to be a playoff team, a notion that seemed unfathomable two months ago. It’s as simple as that. They are what they are which is an underachieving ball club, aging veterans in their rotation and a fragmented bullpen and a lineup which simply hasn’t produced like a contender should. The question going forward will be whether or not the Mets can tread enough water over the next month or so, stay within striking distance, and make a few moves to get themselves into the pennant race.
The third wild card should at least keep the Mets shopping for the pieces they need, and the Phillies showed last year that all a team really needs to do is get into the playoffs, and anything is possible.
But the truth is, Mets GM Billy Eppler might have to take a long look in the mirror and seriously evaluate whether or not that’s worth the price of admission in terms of the cost in prospects it will take to net the pieces they need to be that kind of club. They’ve spent way too much money for a club like this as it stands right now, and no matter what they do or don’t do at the trade deadline, its going to take the players who are currently on the roster to course-correct and find their way again in order for the Mets to have any chance at a pennant race down the stretch.
It just goes to show that spending money on a roster isn’t the be all and end all for a team. Certainly though, the Mets don’t want to be the worst team money can buy, again.
Around the League 🚩
Luis Arraez went 5-for-5 to get his batting average back to .400 as the Marlins kept their good times rolling with an 11-0 rout of the Blue Jays
Joey Votto made his 2023 debut, notched 3 RBI and pushed the Reds into first place with a 5-4 win over the Rockies. Cincinnati has now won nine straight games
Merrill Kelly allowed a run over seven innings, Lourdes Gurriel Jr. and Alex Thomas each drove in a pair of runs in the Diamondbacks 9-1 win over the Brewers - Arizona is now 44-29 on the season
The Giants won their eighth straight game to move to 40-32 on the year thanks to Mike Yastrzemski’s walk-off home run to sink the Padres 7-4 in 10 innings