Sunday, August 28, 2022

Scherzer Superb, Makes Some History, But Mets Bats Go Cold Against Colorado.


Max Scherzer facing Ryan McMahon in the sixth inning. Photo by Jason Schott.

Every Sunday at Citi Field, Bobby's Darin's song "Sunday in New York" plays just before the first pitch.

"New York on Sunday, big city taking a nap!"

One can be sure that very few, if any, of the 36,396 fans in attendance on Sunday, as the Mets took on the lowly Rockies, would have guessed that could have described the home team's bats, as they lost a heartbreaker, 1-0. 

The Mets, whose record dropped to 82-47, fell one short of completing the four-game sweep against Colorado (55-74). After a much-needed day off Monday, the Mets will open a three-game series with best team in baseball, the Los Angeles Dodgers (88-38) on Tuesday night at Citi Field. 

The Mets lead in the National League East remains at three games as the Atlanta Braves (79-50) blew a late late for the second straight night, as they surrendered four runs in the bottom of the eighth to lose to the Cardinals, 6-3, in St. Louis.

Mets starter Max Scherzer had the type of game you wanted him to see after a tough outing at Yankee Stadium last Monday night.

Scherzer went seven innings, allowing just one run on four hits and a walk, with 11 strikeouts. 

As is the case with most of his starts, he made some history, as that was the 110th double-digit strikeout game of his career, tying Roger Clemens for third on the all-time list. The only two pitchers who are ahead of him, and that's putting it mildly, are Nolan Ryan, with 215, and Randy Johnson's 212.

Scherzer's 11 K's also helped him pass his old Detroit Tigers teammate, Justin Verlander, on the all-time strikeout list for the moment. Scherzer now has 3,168 in his career, while Verlander, now with the Houston who had six on Sunday in his three innings of work before he left with calf discomfort, leaving him with 2,167 before exiting.

Scherzer opened the game with two strikeouts on the minimum six pitches, so you could tell this was vintage Max, as he allowed just a Charlie Blackmon single (which came right after the two K's in the first) in the opening six innings.

In the seventh, C.J. Cron took the first pitch he saw from Scherzer and laced it down the left-field line. Then, Jose Iglesias laid down a bunt along the third base line that he beat out at first, and that was followed by a dribbler in the same spot from Randal Grichuk, and that loaded the bases. 

Scherzer then struck out Sam Hilliard, but Brian Serven launched one deep to right that left little doubt Wynton Bernard (who ran for Cron) could come in and score and make it 1-0 Rockies.

Garrett Hampson struck out looking to end the threat, so glass-half-full Max did a great job allowing just one there, but the way the Mets were hitting, that one run loomed very large.

Colorado starting pitcher German Marquez outdueled Scherzer, as he wound up going seven innings, and he allowing just one hit and two walks, while striking out five.

The Mets were only able to get one runner to second base against him, and that was Jeff McNeil, who singled to open the fourth, then advanced to second on a balk by Marquez, but he was left there.

After Marquez left, Carlos Estevez pitched a scoreless eighth, as he worked around a Brett Baty one-out single and struck out Starling Marte (who was pinch-hitting) and Brandon Nimmo to end the inning.

Daniel Bard came on to close it out in the ninth, and he got his redemption after giving up a game-winning hit to Pete Alonso on Friday night.

Bard would give up a single to Alonso with one out, but he then struck out Eduardo Escobar and got McNeil to ground out to end it.

Scherzer was the hard-luck loser, and his record is now 9-4 with a 2.27 ERA (earned run average), as he is still seeking his 200th career victory.

Marquez, who was an All-Star in 2021, got the win for Colorado to improve to 7-10 on the season, and he lowered his ERA from 5.22 to 4.97. Bard earned his 27th save of the season.

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