Ace of Mets Max Scherzer retired from last night’s game midway through a sixth inning at bat against Albert Pujol (video link). After throwing a 2-2 slider at Pujols, Scherzer immediately waved the dugout that he was done, calling a coach and quickly leaving the game. The Mets announced that Scherzer was suffering from discomfort in his left side, and Scherzer told reporters after the contest that he felt tightness in his side throughout the day and felt a “zing” during the Pujols at bat. (video link). “I just knew I was done,” Scherzer said. The three-time Cy Young winner added that he doesn’t think the injury is a “major constraint”.
That will be determined this morning, it appears, as MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo writes that Scherzer is heading for an MRI to determine the extent of the injury. Although Scherzer himself has played down the potential seriousness, it is obviously concerning that he has retired from the game and is currently undergoing a series of imaging to determine if a trip to the injured list will be necessary.
The 37-year-old right-hander signed a record-breaking, three-year, $130 million contract with the Mets over the winter, making him the highest-paid player (on an annual basis) in Major League history. . So far, Scherzer has been the co-ace the Mets hoped to acquire when distributing this deal, throwing 49 2/3 innings, 2.54 ball ERA with a strikeout rate of 30.6% against a walking rate of 5.7%. He was a major reason why the Mets’ rotation, even without Jacob of Grom, ranks fifth in Majors in ERA and second in FIP. Scherzer and his rotation mates also combined for the seventh-highest strikeout rate and lowest walk rate of any starting staff in the big leagues.
Currently, the Mets are the only team in Eastern Newfoundland with a winning record and, at 25-14, they hold a solid six-game lead over the second-placed Phillies. That said, even a brief absence for Scherzer, putting him on the shelf alongside deGrom and right-handed Tylor Megill (inflammation of the biceps), would be a notable blow. The Mets have a deep staff that could potentially withstand this trio of short-term rotational injuries, with the southpaw David Peterson presumably serving as the next man in line if Scherzer does indeed run out of time. Still, losing their $76.83 million one-two deGrom/Scherzer punch on the disabled list before the pair were even healthy enough to take the mound on consecutive days is not a scenario to be expected. the Mets hoped to cope.
The Mets announced earlier this week that an MRI on deGrom, who has yet to kick off in 2022 due to a stress reaction in his right shoulder blade, showed “continuing healing.” He is working on a throwing schedule and is currently increasing the distance he throws from and the intensity level, but there is no clear timeline for him to return to the mound and embark on a mission of rehabilitation in the minor leagues. If Scherzer were to join deGrom and Megill on the IL, the Mets rotation would likely consist of Chris Bassit, Carlos Carrasco, Taijuan walker, Trevor Williams and the aforementioned Peterson.