May 24, 2022

Max Scherzer takes no-hitter into sixth, heats up chilly Citi Field in stellar home debut as Mets finish off doubleheader sweep of Giants

[ad_1]

One strikeout, followed by another whiff, and then another. Suddenly, nine consecutive batters retired, including 17 of the last 18. This was getting real; Max Scherzer had the look.

In his first home start as a Met, Scherzer carried a no-hitter into the sixth inning of the Mets’ 3-1 win over the Giants in Game 2 of a Tuesday doubleheader. Of the 18 batters he’d faced up until that point, only one had reached base, on a walk. Mets fans, filling up Citi Field on a cold and windy night, were living on every pitch. Hey, he did it as a National against the Mets back in 2015 at Citi Field. What’s stopping him from doing it again, this time as a Met, seven years later?

“Rule of thumb is, when you get one time through the order, you got something going,” said Scherzer, who has two career no-hitters, of when the possibility entered his mind. “You get two times through the order, you got a shot.”

Then Scherzer gave up a two-out walk, and another walk. Ultimately, Giants designated hitter Darin Ruf ended Scherzer’s no-hit bid in the sixth with an RBI single to left field. Scherzer finished the sixth at 94 pitches, and he looked gassed after those back-to-back walks, so it was somewhat surprising when he came back out for the seventh.

But this is Scherzer – Mad Max – we’re talking about. He continued pacing in the dugout before jogging back out to the mound for one more frame. Scherzer noted the icy-cold conditions on Tuesday night in Flushing, which featured a real-feel of 36 degrees in the sixth inning, made it difficult and frustrating to grip the ball. But his job, he said, was to “literally pitch as many innings as possible” to save arms in the bullpen.

“Max is real,” Showalter said. “He’s on all the time. He’s on. ‘Oh, is Max having a bad day?’ It’s not like anyone has to check what type of mood he’s coming in. You know. He’s Max every day.”

Scherzer’s seventh and final inning featured an underlying layer of vengeance. He needed just eight pitches to retire the side, including his 10th strikeout of the night. The right-hander, donning a blue No. 21 Mets jersey, strutted off the mound following his 102nd pitch and high-fived his teammates in the dugout. Now, his Citi Field debut as a Met was really over. Scherzer said he had seven innings circled and, more than anything, the ace was glad he was able to hit that mark.

“I wanted him to do it,” said Francisco Lindor of Scherzer’s no-hit bid, adding he was thinking about it since the first pitch of the game.

Scherzer is 3-0 to begin his Mets tenure. The 37-year-old veteran righty has not suffered a loss in any of his last 22 starts. Tuesday night was the sixth time in Scherzer’s career that he threw seven or more innings and allowed just one hit. And the Mets rotation, following the doubleheader sweep of San Francisco, has a 1.57 ERA across the first 12 games of the season, representing the best ERA in MLB.

“He’s not doing this at 25, 28 years old,” Showalter said of Scherzer. “That’s one of the most amazing things to me about him.”

The intimidating Mets rotation has been aided by the team’s new-look lineup, a unit that seems to find ways to claw back or get ahead early.

The Mets offense knocked elite right-hander Logan Webb out of his start as early as the fourth inning. The Giants ace came to Citi Field with a 1.29 ERA over his first two starts and 14 innings, so Webb naturally looked befuddled when Giants manager Gabe Kapler trotted out of the dugout to pull him after just 3.2 innings. But Webb allowed three runs on six hits, and walked three, against a determined Mets lineup that did all of its Game 2 damage on two-out hits.

“It’s no secret, they’ve got really good pitchers,” Showalter said. “But we do too.”

()

[ad_2]