Aces High

Scherzer Verlander Doubleheader

If Sunday showed us anything, it showed you first and foremost what the Mets are capable of when they get good starting pitching.

First, it was Max Scherzer, who pitched six scorless innings while only giving up three hits and one walk (and five K’s) which set the wheels in motion for a 5-4 win in Game 1 of the split doubleheader. It’s easy to say that Max is back. I sure hope he’s back, and I’m certainly not going to poo-poo that possibility. Max very well might be back. It was a hell of a start he had today, and it sould sure as hell be a springboard for him to be the old Max.

But even in a good outing like this, he had to deal with a split callus which forced him into throwing more curveballs (12 in 86 pitches.) Now, a callus is nothing compared to some of the other things he’s dealt with. But it just seems to be a sign that everything is going to be fight for him. So to unequivocally say that “Max is back” is frought with uncertainty. But if anybody is up for the fight between pitching like a Hall of Famer and advancing age, it’s Max.

Of course, let’s not bury the lede of Game 1, which was made possible by Adam Ottavino and David Robertson blowing up a 3-0 lead in the 8th inning and giving up four runs to the Guards, including a dinger by Jose Ramirez to greet Robertson after he came in for Ottavino with a runner on first and Adam not being able to hold any runners on anymore. The back end of the bllpen has been so good lately, and they’ve been worked hard this week. Something like this was bound to happen. In Robertson’s case, I’m shocked it didn’t happen sooner … that’s how good he’s been.

But Starling Marte hit a two run dinger to retake the lead in the bottom of the 8th, making the bullpen’s blowup a moot point. Bad teams waste good performances. Good teams make bad performances footnotes. Robertson has hit his first inevitable wall of the season, and the Mets are surviving it. That’s a great sign to go along with the neon sign of Scherzer finding himself.

Speaking of great starting pitching, Superman returned to the building in Game 2, as Justin Verlander matched Shane Bieber zero for zero, going eight innings while giving up a run on three hits and no walks in 98 pitches. If his start against the Rays was the scene in Superman II where he left the people to fight Zod, Non and Ursa alone, Sunday night was the scene where he broke Zod’s hand after he reversed the lighting in the Fortress of Solitude as a sac fly by Jeff McNeil in the 8th inning was the difference in a 2-1 win to get the doubleheader sweep and the series sweep, and give Mets fans a taste of what the front office had envisioned all season long.

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Eight innings? In the second game of the day where the back end of the bullpen was unavailable? As clutch as clutch comes.

So that’s five straight for the Mets who now sit at 25-23 on the season. Four of those five wins featured a starter that went at least six innings. Amazing what can happen when you get good to great starting pitching.

Today’s Hate List

One for each game.

Game 1’s hate didn’t have anything to do with Game 1, but it happened during Game 1 so I’m going to complain about it:

If you’re a bicyclist in Manhattan, you’re an asshole by association. Sorry not sorry.

If you’re a bicyclist in Manhattan who has the gall to yell “bike lane, buddy!” while your fifteen asshole friends are riding outside the bike lane, then a look forward to you serving me my breakfast at Panera for the rest of your life. I want an equal about of blueberries in each muffin, you Jack Harlow wannabe asshole.

Game 2: ESPN.

“Coney, did you call them cleats or spikes when you played?”

That riveting conversation is how you’re supposed to bring in the young people?

No really, you want to make baseball cooler and hipper for Gen Z, and that’s how you’re going to do it? “Did you call them cleats or spikes?”

Seriously, just as satisfying as the Mets sweeping the doubleheader was that the second game was only 2:06.

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