Mets' win over Cardinals dampened by Max Scherzer pulling self from game mid at-bat
The Mets wrecked the Cardinals, 11-4, at Citi Field on Wednesday, but the score mattered less than the status of Max Scherzer.
Scherzer removed himself from the game in the middle of an at-bat during the sixth inning because of discomfort in his left side. He will get an MRI on Thursday, so before getting those results he said he has “no idea” about the severity of the issue, adding that it would be “foolish to even think anything.”
His side felt tight all day, he said, but got worse on an 0-and-1 slider that missed for a ball to Albert Pujols. That was when Scherzer felt what he called “a zing down the left side.”
He immediately motioned to the dugout that he could not continue pitching and repeatedly said, “I’m done.” Manager Buck Showalter, pitching coach Jeremy Hefner and athletic trainer Joe Golia visited the mound. Then Scherzer walked off with Golia and quickly headed down the tunnel to the Mets’ clubhouse.
“I just knew I was done,” he said. “When I felt it, I knew there was no way you can throw another pitch, so just get out of there.
“I don’t think this is a major strain. I was kind of tight, then all of a sudden it went. I don’t feel like I really ripped it. It just kind of got worse. Hopefully I got out of there quick enough to prevent a major injury. As we know, obliques and intercostals, those things can be nasty. Hopefully I avoided a serious injury.”
The Mets already are missing two of their top six starters, with Jacob deGrom (right shoulder blade stress reaction) and Tylor Megill (right biceps tendinitis) sidelined indefinitely.
“If we have to make adjustments, we make them,” Showalter said. “Max is a really good pitcher, obviously, and pitches once every fifth day or sixth day or seventh day for us. We’ll make adjustments. I’d like to have him. if we don’t, the season keeps going.”
In 5 2/3 innings, Scherzer was something less than his best self, allowing two runs (one earned) and seven hits. He struck out four and walked none. At 87 pitches, his outing ended about an inning earlier than could normally be expected.
The Cardinals (20-17) struck for both runs off Scherzer in the second inning, which began with Eduardo Escobar’s throwing error allowing Juan Yepez to reach base. After Dylan Carlson doubled to right-centerfield, Pujols singled off the first-base bag and down the line to bring home a pair.
“They had a good approach against me today,” Scherzer said. “They were doing some things a little different. You could tell they were really trying to grind some ABs against me. So hats off to them. They’re a great team. But it’s frustrating when you come out of a game.”
The Mets (25-14) blew the game open with a five-run eighth against lefthander T.J. McFarland. Pete Alonso capped the excitement with a three-run home run, a screaming line drive that eked over the wall in left-centerfield.
Alonso’s four RBIs upped his season total to 33, tied with Cleveland’s Jose Ramirez for most in the majors.
“That feels great,” Alonso said. “I take pride in driving guys in. That’s one of the things I really love doing, and helping my team win.”
With singles in his first two plate appearances, Pujols tied and passed Eddie Collins for 10th on the majors’ all-time hits list with 3,314.
Jordan Hicks, the Cardinals’ righthanded reliever-turned-starter, fought frequent control issues during his four innings (two runs). Jeff McNeil had a two-run single in the first, his fifth consecutive game with an RBI (matching the longest streak of his career).
The Mets will have to wait to find out what this win cost them.
Showalter said, “This is not a sky-is-falling team.”