Home News Max Scherzer looks like vintage self as Mets top Astros

Max Scherzer looks like vintage self as Mets top Astros

by admin

HOUSTON — A few minutes before the game started, Justin Verlander briefly peered into his past in accepting his 2022 World Series ring.

He then left the field and soon was replaced by his co-ace, who continued a theme of reflecting on earlier greatness.

Because on one night — though he hopes for many more — Max Scherzer looked like the future Hall of Famer whom the Mets made their $130 million man.

Scherzer saved his best start of the season and his longest as a Met for the defending world champs, silencing the Astros in an 11-1 laugher on Monday at Minute Maid Park that was well-timed for the star and his club.

The Mets (34-38) showed some hope to begin a six-game road trip that will go from Texas to Philadelphia. They have a pulse after winning just their fourth game in the past 15 and beating the Astros for the first time in their past eight head-to-head matchups.

A pair of five-run frames helped. As did Francisco Lindor’s five RBIs. But the Mets have Scherzer — whose ERA fell from 4.45 to 4.04 — to thank most for the series-opening destruction.


Max Scherzer delivers a pitch during the second inning.
USA TODAY Sports via Reuters Con

For a third start in a row, the Mets staked Scherzer to a significant lead, but for a first time in that span he held it. Scherzer allowed just five base runners and one run in eight excellent and efficient innings. He had not recorded an eighth-inning out in his first 34 starts with the Mets.

On June 7, his offense gave Scherzer a three-run, fifth-inning edge that he flushed in a loss in Atlanta. Last Tuesday, the Mets handed Scherzer a 5-1 advantage that evaporated in the fourth inning in a loss to the Yankees.

Scherzer’s slider had abandoned him, but he went to Houston and rediscovered perhaps his best pitch.


Francisco Lindor hits a home run during the third inning against the Houston Astros.
Francisco Lindor hits a home run during the third inning against the Houston Astros.
USA TODAY Sports via Reuters Con

Immediately, it became clear that Astros hitters had little chance against his hook. Of Scherzer’s first eight sliders, seven were strikes, including five swings and misses. The same pitch that induced just one whiff from the Yankees last week this time drew seven empty cuts.

Houston did not get its first hit until Jeremy Pena found a hole in the right side to start the bottom of the third inning. The Astros did not get a runner into scoring position until the sixth, when Martin Maldonado and Alex Bregman singled. But with two outs, Scherzer bore down.

With the Mets up six runs and the Astros threatening for the first time, Scherzer threw what might have been his nastiest slider of the game, a Wiffle ball that tied up Kyle Tucker for a swinging strike three.

Scherzer finally was dented in the seventh, when Yainer Diaz hammered a hanging slider for a home run, but that marked the end of the Astros’ scoring.


Brett Baty rounds third base to score a run during the third inning against the Houston Astros.
Brett Baty rounds third base to score a run during the third inning against the Houston Astros.
USA TODAY Sports via Reuters Con

Everything was working in Scherzer’s favor, including his mistakes. Bregman’s crushed ground ball in the first inning became an out because a diving Brett Baty stabbed it. Maldonado’s swatted line drive in the third was directed right at left fielder Tommy Pham.

The Mets’ offense was working in Scherzer’s favor, too.

Hunter Brown sat down the Mets in order in the first two innings before a huge third essentially ended the game. The Mets sent up nine hitters in the frame and turned five hits into five runs.

Daniel Vogelbach broke through with a moon-shot homer that snuck over the right-field fence for the first run. Since his week off and mental reset, Vogelbach has smacked two home runs in four games after knocking two homers in his first 47 games this season.


Daniel Vogelbach celebrates hitting a home run during the third inning.
Daniel Vogelbach celebrates hitting a home run during the third inning.
Getty Images

After Baty and Francisco Alvarez singled, Starling Marte’s single padded the lead before Lindor blew the game open. The shortstop, fresh off the birth of his second daughter, crushed a middle-of-the-plate fastball for a three-run homer, his 14th of the season.

The Mets added on in the sixth (when Jeff McNeil singled in Pham) and poured it on in a five-run ninth (when Lindor came through with a two-run double, Pham contributed an RBI single and Vogelbach’s single brought home two). That would be more than enough for Scherzer and Grant Hartwig, who handled the ninth in his major league debut.

A team and player as talented as the Mets and Scherzer, respectively, have sought any sign they are about to get going.

Maybe, from Houston, the club’s and Scherzer’s seasons can lift off.

Source Link

You may also like

Leave a Comment