Max Scherzer Best Hope For This Season
It had gotten to the point where it was no longer whispers. It was now fair to question if Max Scherzer was no longer a top of the rotation type starter.
Pick your reason. Pitch clock. With the ejection, maybe more scrutiny with his hands. Injures. Certainly, age.
Whatever the case, Scherzer wasn’t the pitcher this year he was in his career. He wasn’t even close to the pitcher he was until his last few starts of last year.
Through his first 10 starts, he was 5-2 with a 4.45 ERA, 1.235 WHIP, 2.2 BB/9, and a 9.5 K/9. His FIP was 4.36.
There have been some glimpses of the Scherzer of his prime. Mostly, he’s had some unexpectedly poor starts getting hit harder than he ever has been. His pitches are a hair slower.
All told, Scherzer has not been Scherzer. At least, he wasn’t that until his start against the reigning World Series Champion Houston Astros.
Scherzer was effective and economical. It’s a big reason why he was able to go eight innings throwing only 91 pitches.
Scherzer struck out eight and only allowed one earned on four hits and a walk. The Astros were completely dominated.
There are some caveats here. The Astros are in a stretch where they played 23 games over 24 days. Yordan Álvarez is on the IL.
Make all the excuses you want to make. None of those excuses made Scherzer fix his slider. That slider was nearly unhittable as evidenced by the Astros meager display.
More than anything, the Mets needed that. It’s been their vaunted rotation that has let them down this year. In many ways, Scherzer is the poster boy for that.
He could also be the poster boy for a Mets resurgence. If Scherzer is the pitcher he was against the Astros, the Mets are formidable again.
We can buy Scherzer turning his season around and being the pitcher he was against the Astros because he has been that pitcher in his career. That was the pitcher the Mets signed and built their World Series aspirations around.
The Mets needed Scherzer to be great against the Astros. He was. Now, they just need him to be Scherzer for the rest of the season.