An uneasy sense of worry or dread, or perhaps both, settled on Citi Field.
Max Scherzer pulled himself out from his start in the middle of an at-bat against Albert Pujols in the sixth inning of the Mets’ 11-4 win over the Cardinals on Wednesday night. Scherzer threw two slider pujols, the latter prompting him to pull the plug on an 87-pitch outing.
The Mets later announced that Scherzer left the game with “discomfort on the left”. The team said that the right-handed player will go for an MRI on Thursday.
Scherzer pointed to the Mets dugout, as he appeared to say repeatedly, “I’m done. I’m done.” Manager Buck Showalter, pitching coach Jeremy Hefner and an athletic trainer all approached the mound. The meeting was early. Scherzer from his start with the trainer and went on to the clubhouse.
The veteran right-handed batsman scored two runs in 5.2 innings against the Cardinals, seven hits without a walk and four strikeouts, in his eighth start of the year. The Mets (25–14) picked up Scherzer once the game was abandoned, a five-run rally courtesy of a three-run home run by Pete Alonso in the eighth inning. As the Mets headed for their 10th win of the month, the mood and atmosphere at Citi Field began to lift.
Winning is the cure for anxiety. But depending on how much time, if any, Shazer will need to miss, the pressure to continue winning over the Mets and adapt to the next-man-up mentality will only deepen.
The Jacob deGrom-Les Mets rotation surprised everyone to start the year, posting the fifth-best ERA in the major leagues (3.28), good for the second-best in the National League just behind the Dodgers (2.59). But Scherzer (2.54 ERA) and Tyler Meagil are the major reasons for that early rotation success. Megill is already on the injured list indefinitely with right biceps tendinitis, and the degrom (stress reaction on the scapula) unexpectedly to be back at best by the end of June, not risking losing the Amazon Scherzer when they need to step up and take on early employees. ,
In the short time Scherzer has been with his new team, the eight-time All-Star quickly transformed into a seasoned leader in the Mets clubhouse. Fellow rotation partner Chris Bassit often mentions Scherzer as someone he has learned from and leaned on to improve his game. Scherzer can also be seen referring to the young pitcher in the Mets dugout – when he is certainly not getting out of the game to argue balls and strikes. In just a few months, Scherzer has become a staple in the 2022 Mets squad that has finished first in the NL East.
Scherzer, 37, signed a three-year, $130 million contract with the Mets in December, which represents a new and exciting chapter in the Steve Cohen era. Scherzer’s $43 million in average annual value (AAV) tops Gerrit Cole’s deal with the Yankees (nine years, $324 million) for the largest AAV on a single contract in MLB history.
The three-time Cy Young winner and future Hall of Famer entered the All-Star season between the Nationals and the Dodgers. He led 15-4 and posted a career-best 2.46 ERA with 236 strikeouts, 30 starts, the fourth-most in MLB in 2021. Once he signed the fifth-largest contract in Mets history, Scherzer spent the off-season as a member of the players union’s executive subcommittee, negotiating fiercely with Major League Baseball during the owners’ lockdown.
But Shazer’s time at the table didn’t detract from her usual winter routine. The right-hander performed well throughout the offseason, throwing five innings on his spring debut to show the Mets Spring Training ahead of the others. He dealt with a hamstring tightness in the final week of exhibition games in early April, but was able to make his first turn through the rotation and avoid missing any time on the IL.