Flushing, NY — In the postseason, expect the unexpected. Game 1 of the National League Wild Card series opened up an assortment of unexpected results for the Mets as New York fell 7-1 to the San Diego Padres on Friday evening at Citi Field.
Max Scherzer was quite off from what the baseball spectrum expects out of the three-time Cy Young award winner and future Hall of Famer. In his Game 1 outing, Scherzer completed a grueling 4.2 innings, with the Padres smashing four home runs and totaling seven hits for seven earned runs.
“From watching the film and just watching how they were able to take swings, my fastball was running on me,” Scherzer said. “I wasn’t able to command that fastball the way I usually can. That’s my bread and butter to be able to set up everything else.”
Furthermore, Friday’s performance marked the most home runs Scherzer has allowed since April 6th, 2021, while pitching for the Washington Nationals.
“Nobody looks in a mirror harder than Max,” Mets manager Buck Showalter said. “He’s always trying to figure it out. I’m hoping that we can play well and give him a chance to get back out there.”
“But it’s going to be up to us starting tomorrow,” he added.
To add to the loss, the Mets’ offense was barred to only seven hits while stranding 15 runners on base. Mostly in part to the dominance of Padres ace Yu Darvish.
As Citi Field was jammed packed with 41,621 in attendance, fans attempted to compromise the right-hander with constant ‘Darvish’ heckles reigning in. Darvish heard the adversity creeping and rose to the occasion by tossing seven innings, allowing one earned run on six hits with four strikeouts.
“The stadium was so loud that it felt like basically someone was screaming into my ears,” Darvish explained. “I just kind of reminded myself that it’s just noise and just go out there and do your thing.”
One bright spot for New York was the return of Starling Marte, who remains recovering steadily from a partial non-displaced fracture in his right middle finger. The 33-year-old was announced on the Wild Card roster on Friday morning and started in right field, batting sixth in the order hours later.
In his first at-bat since September 6th, Marte led off the home half of the second inning with a single to center and added on by stealing second and third. Providing the Mets with a much-needed scoring opportunity, but what followed was Darvish exiting the inning unscathed.
Marte, of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, finished the night 2-for-4 with two stolen bases, the eighth Mets player in team franchise history to tally multiple bags in a postseason game and first since Curtis Granderson (Game 2 of the 2015 NLCS).
Nonetheless, the lack of execution with runners on base has put New York where they stand today, battling in the Wild Card series, one loss away from being eliminated.
Jacob deGrom (5-4, 3.08 ERA) is set to take the mound against left-hander Blake Snell (8-10, 3.38) in Game 2 of the best-of-three series. With San Diego leading 1-0, the Mets season is on the line, and to caveat in, Saturday night’s Game 2 will mark DeGrom’s first career postseason outing at Citi Field.
“We’re going to try to win tomorrow night’s game and see where we are,” Showalter said.
“We’ve got Jake going tomorrow, so that will be good,” Scherzer said.
DeGrom will be put to the test, especially against Padres slugger Manny Machado, who owns a .300 career batting average against him (6-20, one walk, six strikeouts).
“That’s what we love doing, competing and going out there in big situations,” deGrom said. “You’re going out there, and like I said, you try to leave it all out on the field.”
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Robert Rizzo is the assistant editor for Latino Sports
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