Just five days away from its best start to the season, looking like the Max Scherzer of old as he cut through the mighty Los Angeles Dodgers roster, Scherzer returned to the pitcher the Mets have seen a disturbing number of times this year, one who allows home runs at a pace seen in the Home Run Derby.
Saturday night, as the Mets looked to sweep the doubleheader against the Boston Red Sox and win their second straight series, Scherzer allowed four homers in six innings of work, including a first homer at Jarren Duran which put New York in an early hole and two shots to Triston Casasthe second of which again gave Boston the lead after the Mets offense fought back.
“It’s evil. I understand. I own it,” Scherzer said. “Not here to make excuses. I will answer for all of these locations. It is evil. Good? Listen, I came in saying I was going to throw a better slider, I thought I did… It’s just one of those things that I’m into funk right now where I’m just prone to circuitry.
For the most part, Scherzer’s slider on Saturday was better than it has been this season. However, one of the four circuits came on an overhead slider to Yu Chang it was in the middle of the plate. Scherzer said he had a poor grip on the ball and shouldn’t have even kicked the pitch.
“The rest of the sliders today, I think, were actually really good,” he said.
The other three circuits were played on three different pitches: curveball, cutter and fastball. Duran’s first home run that hit the Pesky Pole came on a curveball, but that wouldn’t make Scherzer lose any sleep because the field was where he wanted it and in most other stadiums it would have been a foul ball.
The two in Casas are a little more concerning because Scherzer said he didn’t run the pitches where he wanted them, throwing them down and in (where Casas likes it) instead of up and in.
“Both Casas home runs are on me,” Scherzer said. “I have to execute better. I have to get there and in the quadrant a lot better than I did tonight.
Scherzer’s inconsistencies in the season have been difficult to explain. Far too often, the 38-year-old has chained a good start or a few good starts with a start like the one on Saturday night. In fact, in his last three road starts, Scherzer has allowed nine homers in 17 innings.
“Baseball is funny, I don’t know,” he said. “The game always finds a way to surprise you and punch you in the face. You just have to find a way to adapt to it and make changes and go for it next time and do quality presentations. It’s the only thing you can do at this level.