Mets split their 1.5 games with the Red Sox on Saturday as Max Scherzer regressed in the night cap
The Mets were able to hold on and win their suspended game, while Max Scherzer allowed four home runs to the Red Sox on Saturday
What’s Up with the Mets? ⚾️
Brandon Nimmo and Daniel Vogelbach each hit two-run home runs
Jeff McNeil, Pete Alonso, Brett Baty, and Mark Canha each contributed two hits apiece, with Baty’s RBI double contributing the fifth and decisive run
The Mets had the bases loaded and nobody out in the eighth inning but failed to score, and then they mounted a threat with first and second and nobody out, but failed to score then as well
Kodai Senga struggled over the first 3.1 IP of this game on Friday, allowing two earned runs on three hits, but the bullpen picked him up - Grant Hartwig, David Peterson, Dominic Leone, Brooks Raley and David Robertson combined to allow only one run over the final 5.2 IP
Max Scherzer started for the Mets and allowed four home runs in six innings of work, resulting in five of the eight Boston runs on the night
Trevor Gott was ineffective in relief, allowing three runs while recording only one out in the seventh inning
The Mets did fight back with three runs in the ninth, highlighted by a long triple from Alonso to start the inning, but their rally was stopped at three runs by Kelley Jansen, who was forced to come in for the save
Trade Rumors 🤐
Multiple teams - including the Giants - are expressing interest in acquiring Justin Verlander (MLB.com)
Roster Moves 🗞️
INF Luis Guillorme placed on the 10-day IL with a calf strain
INF Danny Mendick recalled from Triple-A Syracuse
INF Mark Vientos recalled from Triple-A Syracuse
LHP Josh Walker recalled from Triple-A Syracuse (27th man)
Today’s Game 🗓
Match-up: Mets (46-52) @ Red Sox (52-47)
Starting pitchers: RHP Carlos Carrasco (3-3, 5.35 ERA) vs. LHP Brennan Bernadino (1-0, 2.48 ERA)
Where: Fenway Park – Boston, MA
When: 7:10 PM EDT
Where to Watch: ESPN
The clock is starting to tick louder for these Mets… ✍️
On the surface, getting a doubleheader split (that’s effectively what this was) isn’t the worst thing in the world, especially for a visiting team in Fenway Park as that’s always a difficult place for a club to come to and win.
And on the surface, the one win the Mets got on Friday/Saturday would like like a nice, comeback win for this team, a team badly and perhaps desperately looking for some reason to keep this season going beyond the August 1 trade deadline, now just over a week away.
But alas, the Mets are right back where they started two days ago record-wise, sitting six games under .500, a million miles out of first place and seven games out of a wild card spot with four teams in front of them to leap frog.
In addition, it was more of the same in these two games, an all too familiar stink that comes with an inability to hit and an ineffective start from a pitcher they’re living or dying with.
Like I said, the first game was certainly a nice, comeback win. But those attempts to score runs in the eighth and ninth inning were once again cringeworthy and frustrating. They loaded the bases with nobody out thanks in part to two gifts from old friend Justin Turner, who was playing second base and probably shouldn’t have been and he let two balls get by him for “hits” to help create this big opportunity for the Mets. However, in a blink of an eye, that rally was over after Francisco Álvarez popped up and Brett Baty grounded into a double play. Then in the ninth, they had a chance with first and second and nobody out but got nothing out of that either.
So, it was up to the bullpen, a unit which had been stretched out once again in this game due to the weather situation, although it was probably going to happen regardless since Kodai Senga had struggled out of the gate in this game 20 hours earlier. The bullpen came through and navigated the offense’s inability to provide some insurance for them, giving the Mets 5.2 IP of one-run ball in relief of Senga with Brooks Raley and David Robertson coming up aces for them in the eighth and ninth in particular.
Think about it from this perspective - a week from now, they might not have either to save them.
Anyway, yes, wins are wins. But all too often the wins are ugly and adventurous. There’s hardly anything routine about these games, which truthfully represents the dysfunction of this roster in a nutshell.
Then came the nightcap and, well, it wasn’t pretty for Max Scherzer.
The home run ball has been especially problematic for Scherzer all year long. For context, he allowed 13 home runs in 23 starts last season, 23 home runs in 30 starts in 2021.
In 2023, Scherzer has now allowed 22 home runs in 18 starts thanks to the four gopher balls he served up to the Red Sox last night at Fenway.
There was nothing really to them either. He gave the Sox four center cut pitches, one of which was a fastball, and boom that was really the game for the Mets. The Mets did comeback briefly in this game after falling behind 2-0 with three runs in the fourth, highlighted by a Little League Home Run from Jeff McNeil (watch). But then it was bombs away against Scherzer which put this game too far out of reach for the Mets, despite their valiant effort to rally in the ninth inning.
For Scherzer, it’s easy to say he is a diminished pitcher at this point in his career. The results would suggest as much for sure, and the non-competitive strikes he threw to serve up the four home runs last night would certainly support the claim. While his average fastball velocity is down, it’s not down significantly - it was 94 mph in 2022, 93.6 in 2023. It’s really the effectiveness of his slider which has just killed him this year - that’s down 1.3 mph on average year over year. The ineffectiveness of his slider in turn has helped contribute to reduced effectiveness of his fastball, which again isn’t quite as electric as it was a year ago.
So this goes back to that question I asked last week. How can the Mets figure out what the best version of Scherzer is at this stage of his career? Where is it in this repertoire can they find a formula to reduce the home run output against him?
Anyway, it would be unfair to close without discussing McNeil and Pete Alonso, who have had themselves a promising uptick at the plate in this series. McNeil has notched three hits including that fun little league home run, and Alonso is starting to use the whole field again, going center/right which is usually a sign Alonso is snapping out of. funk. This has been a prolonged and unquestionably concerning rut for Alonso - on both sides of the ball - but he is definitely showing signs of an awakening. He crushed his triple in the ninth inning, a ball which would’ve been a home run in most any other ballpark. He’s now 5-for-his-last-12 at the plate - he had gone 5-for-44 in his previous 13 games.
Normally, I’d say today’s game is a big game for the Mets. It’s the rubber game of this series and a chance to finish the week 4-2 against the White Sox and the Red Sox. But the magnitude of this game is even greater considering where we are on the baseball calendar.
It’s a must-win game for these Mets, a team teetering on the edge of being in or out for the remainder of the 2023 season.
They’re seven games out of a wild card with 64 games to go. The math isn’t in their favor even with a home-heavy schedule the rest of the way. Also, they are what they are and I’m not sure that even running the table through July 31 changes that identity.
Around the League 🚩
The Rockies sent the Marlins to their eighth loss in a row thanks to a go-ahead single by Randal Grichuk in the 9th inning, sending Colorado to a 4-3 win at loanDepot Park
The Reds hit three consecutive home runs in the sixth inning, sending them on their way to a 4-2 win over the Diamondbacks at Great American Ballpark
The Dodgers blew out the Rangers 16-3 in Arlington - Freddie Freeman belted two of LA’s five home runs on the day
Tanner Bibee outfield Zack Wheeler as the Guardians defeated the Phillies 1-0 in Cleveland