It’s not often you see Max Scherzer give up four earned runs in a start. It’s even rarer to see him allow that many in consecutive outings.
Perhaps it’s because we as the baseball-viewing public are used to the mastery that the three-time Cy Young Award winner and future Hall of Famer brings more often than not to the mound. Even Mets manager Buck Showalter had to pump the brakes a bit after his veteran ace allowed four runs on seven hits with just three strikeouts against the crosstown-rival Yankees in a 4-2 Mets loss on Monday night at Yankee Stadium.
“Max was really good tonight. A lot of people come in here and struggle,” Showalter said. “We can’t act like he didn’t come in here and had a good outing. He was solid. There was nothing wrong with Max. He did something that was very hard to do and he did it at a high level. The next time out I’m sure he’ll be good again and he’ll give us a chance to win.”
Scherzer, though, is never one to echo such sentiments. Especially after a loss where he was outdueled by Domingo German, who allowed just two runs (one earned) on four hits in 6.1 innings of work.
“You know in the Subway Series that everything is going to be amped up,” Scherzer said. “Credit to German for throwing the ball as well as he did. He kept the pressure on me.”
That pressure was almost immediate as the Yankees managed to get one across in the first inning when Andrew Benintendi — who was hit by a pitch to lead off the frame — eventually scored on a DJ LeMahieu sacrifice fly.
But the big fly came in the third inning when Aaron Judge got to the 38-year-old, taking a 96-mph four-seamer the opposite way into the right-field seats for his 47th homer of the season.
“I kept the ball down in on Judge but the way it unfolded, he put a better swing on it and was able to hit a solo shot,” Scherzer said. “But that’s not what lost the ballgame.”
Remember Benintendi? It was he who provided to be the largest thorn in Scherzer’s side.
Driving in a pair of runs on the night — first with a double that nicked off the first-base bag in the fifth inning to put New York ahead 3-0 before an RBI single to right to give the Yankees some insurance in the seventh inning after Daniel Vogelbach’s two-run shot drew the Mets within one a half-inning earlier.
“I had him in a two-strike situation [in the fifth] and left a cutter over the plate instead of bearing in,” Scherzer lamented. “To me, I’m more frustrated with that pitch specifically and that execution. He was able to keep it fair and that’s the execution that I’m kicking myself on.
“In his fourth at-bat, I thought I made a good pitch but he put a better swing on one of those changeups. I tip my hat to him. You have to take some licks when you lose. You take a loss and you move on and you try to figure it out and get better next time.”
While that next time is scheduled to come this weekend at Citi Field against the Colorado Rockies, Monday night was just the 26th time in Scherzer’s 15-year career (416 starts) that he yielded four or more runs.
“It’s baseball,” he said. “Sometimes you go out there and the ball gets hit into things and you give up no runs and you’re not as good as your good outings. Sometimes you give up a lot of runs and you’re not quite as bad as your bad outings.
“I’ve pitched long enough to know that you have to stay even-keel on this and just go out and continue to execute pitches… I just have to be a little sharper in some of these situations.”
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