After nearly seven weeks off a major league hill, Max Scherzer didn’t need a grace period to return to dominance.
Came right away.
Scherzer hit his first hit and continued to roll through six innings without goals in his comeback from a mid-to-high grade slasher strain that has kept him out since May 18.
He finished the outing with eight straight hits as he finished the season with 11 hits, two hits and one hit. Despite losing 48 days after feeling a ‘zing’ in his squad, Scherzer made his best start of the season on his comeback.
The ace settled for no decision as his team struggled to score a run in the first six rounds. He was replaced by Julie Rodriguez for the seventh start.
The Reds won 1-0 in the first leg in the ninth over the sacrifice fly hit by Mike Mustakas.
Scherzer hadn’t made a game since the game with the Cardinals at Citifield when he pointed to the bunker after throwing a second pitch from a bat to Albert Pujols. His night ended after 87 throws with two in the tire and Scherzer was diagnosed with tilt fatigue.
Despite the Mets’ sluggish start to attack, all the encouraging signs for Scherzer in his reappearance were in the spin. Here’s what Scherzer showed in his long-awaited comeback:
how did it look
It was a promising start for Scherzer, who needed just nine pitches to get past the first half. Hitter ahead of Jonathan defeated India 2-2 in Fast Bowl. After that, he earned back-to-back ball matches to lock down his first of three rounds 1-2-3.
The only problem Scherzer had came in the second half as he let go of Donovan Solano’s single and hit Mustakas in the elbow on the next hit. Solano moved up to third in a fly ball, but Scherzer managed a quick shot off Matt Reynolds to get through 23 fields unhurt.
The only primary feud that Scherzer allowed was a single by Tyler Naquin at the bottom of the fourth inning. The ace proceeded to strike the next five blows in order. During the start, he passed John Smoltz for his 18th all-time hit on the career hits list, bringing his total to 3,089.
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Scherzer threw three balls for only one hit during his descent. It came to Reynolds at the bottom of the fifth, but Shearzer bounced back from the 3-1 count for a quick hit on the 95-mph fastball.
One of the biggest questions entering the night was how much leash Buck Showalter would give Scherzer.
The Mets ace began rehab twice with Class AA Binghamton before returning to the major league hill. On his first outing on June 21, he made 65 throws in 3 runs. On the second of a week’s rest on June 29, Scherzer used 80 throws to play through 4 runs.
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Despite apparent frustration with a quick hook in the dugout after six leading innings, Showalter made the decision to pull off Scherzer after 79 throws on Tuesday night.
Old guard vs new
Scherzer wasn’t the only bowler to come back from injury in Tuesday night’s game.
The Reds sent in Nick Ludlow, who had not played for more than two months due to a back strain. The 24-year-old rookie, who was MLB.com’s 42nd potential player entering the season, carried the Mets offensive into the opening four rounds.
The Mets had trouble connecting to Ludlow’s passer when he picked up four of his eight hits on that court, including a pair against Pete Alonso. He left the bout after 89 throws after walking into the Starling Marty by two fifths in the fifth.
The Mets had four speculators that got into the scoring position against Lodolo but couldn’t capitalize on the first four tyres. Mark Kanha was off in the second half and led on the pitch and wild, but J.D. Davis fired on a sinker and James McCann went to Ludlow to end the threat.