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Redemption for Scherzer and Mets

Max Scherzer - Image Credit: Bill Menzel/Latino Sports

FLUSHING, NY– Mets ace Max Scherzer took his normal trot to the mound on Monday evening, but this time, with redemption on his mind. As his recent enemy in the San Diego Padres was awaiting, the 38-year-old, and three-time Cy Young award winner, prepared for battle with the theme song of HBO’s hit-show ‘Succession’ blasting through Citi Field’s speakers.

To rewind the history tapes, the Padres clobbered Scherzer in Game 1 of the 2022 National League Wild Card, scoring seven runs on seven hits (four home runs). On that cold October night in Queens, Scherzer was booed off the mound by Mets faithful. 

Max Scherzer exits Game 1 of 2022 NL Wild Card against SD Padres on October 7, 2022 – Image Credit: Bill Menzel/Latino Sports

Meanwhile, San Diego’s ace Yu Darvish tossed seven innings of one-run ball with four strikeouts to earn the win. Less than 48 hours later, the Mets witnessed their 101-win season come to an end. 

Yu Darvish in Game 1 of 2022 NL Wild Card against NY Mets on October 7, 2022 – Image Credit: Bill Menzel/Latino Sports

And just six months and three days later, the thought of a Rematch became reality. Scherzer vs. Darvish in Queens, marking just the fifth head-to-head matchup in their respective careers. A shot at redemption for ‘Mad Max’ and the Mets… 

“It may have been on the back of some people’s minds, but I didn’t hear it as a topic of conversation in our advanced meeting today,” Mets manager Buck Showalter said, when asked if there was any sense of urgency or a redemption factor with Scherzer facing Darvish. 

Padres vs. Mets at Citi Field – Image Credit: Latino Sports

Regardless, you could tell, Scherzer and catcher Tomás Nido were zoned in on the objective, salivating at the chance of leading New York over San Diego. 

In the first inning, the Padres first-three hitters (Trent Grisham, Manny Machado, and Juan Soto), forced Scherzer into throwing 23 total pitches. After a mound visit from Nido regarding the pitch selections, the right-hander was able to settle down, and got Xander Bogaerts to ground into an inning ending double play. 

“We weren’t on the same pitch,” Scherzer said about the mound visit. “We were cycling through pitches and it was coming off. I stepped off with a runner on base. I thought it resets the pitch clock.”

“It was just confusion. He came out there and I didn’t think we needed a mound visit. I just needed to call the right pitch, but that’s just life in the big leagues in 2023.” 

Though, life in the big leagues for ‘Mad Max’ became easy going following his first inning jam. He completed 4.1 innings before allowing a hit, and finished the night on five innings pitched with three walks, a hit, and six strikeouts. Scherzer neutralized opponents by trusting the defense behind him, and depending on his offspeed arsenal.

“I was just missing with that fastball,” Scherzer said. “It kind of got me in some bad counts. It allowed them to grind me apart, that’s why my pitch count got high. I wasn’t able to control the count well with them. But, they’re a good team and if you make mistakes, they’ll burn you.” 

Scherzer faced 18 batters, totaling 97 pitches with 61 coming for strikes. 

“He just never gives in,” Showalter said about Scherzer. “He wanted to go back out for the sixth. He always does, but he did what he needed to do. That’s a tough lineup to get through.”

On San Diego’s side, Darvish entered the night undefeated against the Mets for his career: 5-0 record, 2.56 ERA, 58 strikeouts and nine walks across 52.2 innings pitched. 

Complete domination in statistics, though on Monday, it was a different story. Darvish surrendered five earned runs on six hits and one walk across 6.1 innings. He struck out five and totaled 104 pitches, 67 for strikes. 

“I thought his stuff was good throughout the course of the game,” Padres manager Bob Melvin said about Darvish. “It’s good to see him go out there and get to 100 pitches and feel good about himself. I think now he’s back to what we’re gonna see normally out of him.” 

Despite Darvish currently adjusting into mid-season form, the Padres offense stood as the culprit on Monday, compiling only two hits, and six walks. San Diego left seven on base, and were 0-8 with RISP. 

“Recently we’ve been pretty good about that,” Melvin noted. “Put some pressure on the pitcher, either draw some walks or string some hits together and get some big hits. We just couldn’t do it tonight.”

Max Scherzer – Image Credit: Bill Menzel/Latino Sports

Ultimately, because of Scherzer’s efforts, seeking out redemption and leading New York to the 5-0 victory over San Diego.

“Any time the team wins, I’m happy,” Scherzer said.

Robert Rizzo is a journalist and co-editor of Latino Sports – Email:

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