Mildly Irritated Max

Scherzer Close Up

It may not have been vintage Mad Max, but Max Scherzer was plenty good for what the Mets needed him to be on Monday.

Scherzer had talked about being too predictable with two strikes, and perhaps changing the program up a little bit. So I kept a close eye on what Scherzer did with two strikes tonight:

First inning:

  • Grisham: Curve/foul ball, fastball/ball four
  • Machado: Waste pitch, fastball/strike three swinging
  • Soto: Fastball/foul, Changeup/ball, changeup/foul, cutter/foul, fastball/walk

Second inning:

  • Carpenter: Cutter/ball, cutter/strikeout swinging
  • Cronenworth: Changeup/foul, fastball/ball, changeup/F-9
  • Kim: fastball/foul, fastball/strikeout looking

Third inning:

  • Odor: Fastball/foul tip just out of the glove, changeup/walk
  • Nola: Changeup/ball, slider/ball, fastball/6-3
  • Grisham: Fastball/foul, fastball/strikeout looking
  • Machado: Slider/check swing stike, slider/ball, slider/ball, fastball/F-5

Fourth inning:

  • Soto: curve/pop up
  • Bogaerts: changeup/foul, fastball/F-8
  • Carpenter: Curveball/ball, fastball/strikeout swinging

Fifth inning:

  • Odor: Changeup/pop up
  • Nola: Slider/ball, fastball/ball, fastball/ball, fastball/foul, fastball/foul, fastball/foul, slider/foul, fastball/foul, fastball/strikeout swinging.

That last at-bat to Austin Nola pumped up Scherzer’s pitch count to 97 to end the inning and end his outing. 41 of his 97 pitches were thrown with two strikes. There were a lot of foul balls and a lot of pitches that just missed the zone. So I’m sure that Scherzer would tell you that he has a little bit to go. But he was generally pleased with his outing (and made sure to let us know that he wasn’t broken.) But he did mix up his pitches well (as he was forced to with all the extra two strike pitches he threw). The good news to me was that foul ball that I italicized and bolded: That was Schezer’s 96th pitch of the game, and he threw that fastball at 96 miles per hour. So any fear that this is a man that’s losing his stuff because he’s getting old, he at least put that to rest. He may not be all the way there yet, but he isn’t, as he said, broken.

Scherzer and the bullpen combined on a two-hit shutout in the pitching rematch of Game 1 of the WC series last year (which we won’t talk about because I was there and the best thing about it was Utopia Bagels.) John Curtiss, Drew Smith, David Robertson and Adam Ottavino combined to give up one hit and three walks in four innings after Scherzer gave up one hit and three walks in five innings. And they did it against a very good lineup, although one that had to play a night game after traveling after a night game. (Don’t blame me, I don’t make the schedule.)

Offensively, the Mets took care of business against Yu Darvish for the first time in … well, ever. He was 6-0 lifetime against the Mets, with that 6th game being that game we agreed not to talk about earlier in this post. But Jeff McNeil got a big hit in the third with two runners on to give the Mets a 2-0 lead and allow them to breathe a little easier facing this guy. Then in the 7th, with Darvish still in the game, Mark Canha led off the inning with a double before Luis Guillorme did this:

Then after Eduardo Escobar drove in Canha with a sac fly, Tomas Nido did this:

Two hits that traveled about 60 feet and stayed fair? Darvish was like “hey, not my night … deuces.” But tip your hat to the Mets’ groundscrew for manicuring the hell out of the third base line with their toothbrushes and their carpenter’s leveling bar. Tim Hill then came in and Francisco Lindor drove in two with a double and that put any doubt about the outcome of this one to rest.

So it was small consolation for what happened last season, but with good starting pitching performances at a premium, the small consolation is welcome.

Today’s Hate List

Trent Grisham and his mustache.

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