Monday, April 10, 2023

Scherzer, Mets Shutout Padres In Playoff Rematch

Max Scherzer fires one in facing Xander Bogaerts in the fourth inning. Photo by Jason Schott.

The Mets waited six months and a day to face the San Diego Padres after they were ousted by them in the Wild Card round in the playoffs last fall, and on Monday night at Citi Field, they got a measure of revenge.

Max Scherzer was superb, as his best start in the early season, throwing five shutout innings to lead the Mets to a 5-0 victory.

The Padres' best chance against the Mets ace came in the first inning when Trent Grisham and Juan Soto drew walks, but Xander Bogaerts hit into a double play to end the inning.

Scherzer then retired the Padres in order in the second, as he struck out ex-Yankee Matt Carpenter and Ha-Seong Kim. In the third, he walked another ex-Yankee, Rougned Odor, to open the inning before retiring the next three Padres. 

San Diego starter Yu Darvish cruised through the first two innings, and retired the first two Mets in the third before Brandon Nimmo singled. 

Francisco Lindor then was hit by a pitch, and Jeff McNeil followed with a double to bring both of them in, and just like that, the Mets had a 2-0 lead.

Scherzer responded by getting the Padres out in order in the fourth, and the fans became aware he had not given up a hit. That came with one out in the fifth when Kim dunked one into the outfield, and the crowd gave a nice ovation.

Odor popped out to the catcher and Austin Nola struck out to end the inning, and Scherzer's night.

The Mets ace allowed no runs on just that one hit and three walks, with six strikeouts, and he now is 2-1 on the season, and lowered his ERA (earned run average) to 4.41. He entered with a very un-Scherzer like 6.35 ERA.

With Darvish still on in the seventh, the Mets expanded their lead. Mark Canha led things off with a double to left field that one-hopped off the fence. Luis Guillorme was up next, and he laid down a bunt that hugged the third-base line, mesmerizing everyone in the park.

Canha moved up to third base on it, and that set him up to score when Eduardo Escobar hit a sacrifice fly to bring him in and make it 3-0 Mets. 

Then, incredibly, Tomas Nido dribbled one down the third-base line, nearly a carbon copy of Guillorme's hit, and he was aboard. 

That was all for Darvish, and San Diego turned to left-hander Tim Hill. He got Nimmo on a force out, but then Lindor laced a two-run double to open up a 5-0 Mets lead.

That completed the line for Darvish, as he was responsible for those two runners, and it finished as such: 6 1/3 innings, 6 hits, 5 runs (all earned), 1 walk, 5 strikeouts. He fell to 0-1 on the young season, and his ERA jumped to 4.76 after it was 1.80 entering the night.

The Mets' bullpen delivered, as John Curtiss worked around a pair of walks to pitch a scoreless sixth, Drew Smith notched two strikeouts to get through the seventh, David Robertson also had a pair of K's in the eighth, an Adam Ottavino struck out the side in the ninth.

Starling Marte Update: 

Mets right fieler Starling Marte exited Sunday's game after he suffered an injury stealing third base. He came up in a but of pain, and at first the fear was he hurt his right hand, which had no protection, heading into the bag, while his left was in the "oven mitt" glove. He stayed in to complete the inning, but did not come back out for the second, and has been ruled as "day to day" with a sprained neck.

Showalter said in his pregame press conference on Monday afternoon, “The concussed part of it, I think we’re in pretty good shape, but the neck’s a little sore today…We hope it’s short-lived, he took a pretty good pop there, more of a form of whiplash, is I guess the way you would put it.”

On pulling him at the conclusion of the inning, Buck said, “I gotta tell you, at the time, an inning or two later, I was not questioning myself, but I was wondering if I jumped the gun a little bit, but now I feel good about it. Those things, you’re dealing with neck and head, you gotta always err on the side of - I didn’t like some of, when he looked up, and the sunlight hit him. He didn’t break his glasses, the lens just popped out of it, but he had a pretty good lick there, I could see it. He said no, but I thought he could be a little nauseous, but he wasn’t. In fact, he fought me a little down the runway, but - I’m aware of it, conscious of it, but I think we’re okay.” 

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