ST. LOUIS — Tomas Nido served as Max Scherzer’s catcher for a fourth time in four starts Monday, a trend for which “I don’t know if coincidence is the right word,” manager Buck Showalter said.
Scherzer shut out the Cardinals for seven innings, striking out 10, walking one and allowing two hits in the Mets’ 5-2 win. That lowered his ERA to 1.80.
Nido and Scherzer began to build a rapport before spring training, when the backstop would catch the righthander’s bullpen sessions and simulated games in South Florida, where they both happen to live, and it has continued through spring training and into the season. James McCann has not been behind the plate for a Scherzer outing of any sort since a scrimmage early in camp; they had been scheduled to work together a couple of times but it didn’t happen because one or the other was dealing with a minor injury.
Showalter downplayed the idea that Scherzer/Nido is a personal-catcher situation. He said he is “just trying to keep everybody in the flow and healthy.” In this case, that meant playing Nido for a second time in three games and potentially slotting in McCann both of the next two games — including a day game Wednesday after a night game Tuesday, which is unusual for catchers.
“It’s something that has seemed to have worked so far,” Showalter said. “But it’s something we will get away from at some point. I think. I think. I haven’t really gone down that road with Max yet.
“Max has never voiced [a preference] to me either way. Max is not one of those excuse guys, where somebody has got to [be his catcher] . . . Max is fine with either one of them. All our pitchers like throwing to both of them. We’re very lucky. That usually doesn’t happen, for some reason. But those guys have both shown how into the catching and the game-calling they are. I think the pitching has really fed off of it. It really helps me, being able to catch both of them.”