Max Scherzer delivers ‘good stuff’ in Mets spring training debut


JUPITER, Fla. — New uniform and fan base, but it was the same Max Scherzer on Monday you would expect with only 2 ½ weeks until Opening Day. 

Scherzer had pitched so many Grapefruit League games at Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium over the years with the Nationals that this latest exercise, for the first time with the Mets, had to feel like old hat. 

For his Mets debut the right-hander arrived with a mission of throwing as many strikes as possible. On that count, he wildly succeeded. Scherzer reached 72 pitches (55 were strikes) over five innings in which he allowed one earned run on three hits with five strikeouts. Only a win was missing on a day the Mets lost 3-0 to the Marlins. 

“The first time out I wanted just to come in and fill up the zone,” said Scherzer, who featured all five of his pitches. “If you have a feel for the strike zone then you learn how to kind of pitch around the strike zone. But you can’t do that until you just pour it in there pitch after pitch, so that was a good thing today with throwing a lot of strikes and got my work in and five innings.” 

Mets
Max Scherzer threw his first pitches as a Met during a spring training game on Monday.
Corey Sipkin
Mets
Max Scherzer
Corey Sipkin

Scherzer, who unloaded 59 pitches in a simulated game last week in Port St. Lucie, threw his fastball in the 92-95 mph range in this outing. He also unleashed a steady diet of cutters, changeups, curveballs and sliders. The other half of the Mets’ dynamic duo, Jacob deGrom, is scheduled for his Grapefruit League debut Tuesday night against the Astros at Clover Park. 

Scherzer credited his workouts with Tomas Nido during the lockout for helping him build a rapport with the catcher, who started this outing. Nido and Scherzer live in South Florida and work out with trainer Eric Cressey. 

“With the lockout and everything I didn’t want to be caught by surprise and I just wanted to put some reps in,” Nido said. “It worked out perfectly and it just helped skip a couple of steps in spring training and just be on the same page from the [start].” 

Scherzer labored through the first inning, throwing 20 pitches. Jazz Chisholm Jr. bunted for a single leading off the game against the three-time Cy Young Award winner and stole second before Avisail Garcia delivered an RBI single. 

Mets
Max Scherzer celebrates in the dugout after his first spring training start as a Mets
Corey Sipkin

The next four innings went much smoother for Scherzer: Jesus Aguilar’s double to left field in the fourth inning represented the only real hard-hit ball against Scherzer. 

“The wind is blowing in so it gives you even more reason to try to let them hit it out of the ballpark,” Scherzer said. “I got my work in, attacked the zone, didn’t walk anybody, a lot of first-pitch strikes — that is all the good stuff.” 

Scherzer, who arrived just before the lockout on a three-year deal worth $140 million, was asked if he felt like a Met yet. 

“When you actually go out there and compete in New York and have everybody behind you and actually go out and win a ballgame, no matter what happens, that is just a different level, so it doesn’t matter what you do in spring training,” Scherzer said. “You want to get to the season and get out there and win some games when it counts so that is what all this work is for.” 

This much is certain: Scherzer won’t be overwhelmed by the moment the first time he pitches for the Mets in a regular-season game, whether that’s on the road or at Citi Field. 

“I like a hostile environment,” Scherzer said. “I like it when there’s a bunch of crowd and a bunch of, it feels like the fans are going to come out of the stands and get you. They are fun environments to pitch in. I’m a high adrenaline pitcher so I feel comfortable pitching in that environment. 

“New York is obviously one of those types of environments that brought that type of energy, so it’s going to be fun to pitch in front of that type of energy.”



Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.