PORT ST. LUCIE — Five combined Cy Young awards trotted up the hill for the Mets on Sunday, bringing a rare kind of spring training electricity to Clover Park.
Jacob deGrom fired the first three innings and Max Scherzer the next six. Not that results mattered in this opening day build-up, but the tandem held the Cardinals in three runs in front of a crowded crowd in the Mets’ 7-3 exhibition win.
“That was fun, wasn’t it?” said manager Buck Showalter. “Funny or unique? Start a new trend.”
DeGrom allowed a run to four hits with five strikeouts over three innings in his second start of the spring. Scherzer started the fourth and took it to the finish line, giving up two earned runs on three hits with seven strikeouts and a walk over six innings in which he offloaded 90 pitches.
Each pitcher will get one last Grapefruit League start in the coming week before the April 7 opener in Washington with deGrom on the mound. Scherzer’s real debut with the Mets comes a night later.
“I think we all got a kick [Sunday]’ Scherzer said. “I’m coming out of pen in the spring, so just one more fold for everything. You just keep a smile on your face, go out and take the ball and I wanted to finish the game and I was able to. That was the most important thing, getting my six innings.”
Showalter was not allowed to speak to Scherzer during the lockout, but received reports that the right-hander was putting up several innings in practice with other major league players. The build-up allowed Scherzer to field five innings against the Marlins in his first Grapefruit League start last week.
DeGrom, returning from elbow problems that cost him the second half of last season, is taking a more normal path in building up for the regular season.
Among the novelties that day was deGrom throwing three straight curveballs to Alec Burleson in the second inning — a pitch he rarely uses. The last of these pitches was struck for a single.
“The first pair was good, and then I just looked to see if I could bounce one, but I couldn’t,” deGrom said. “See if it would work as a strikeout pitch. I think if I threw it like the first two it would have been better but I just left it a bit open ended so I’m just something I’m working on and who knows it might be something I do use throughout the year.
As for the afternoon, deGrom said the logistics made it difficult for him to enjoy the full effects.
“It’s definitely cool, but I’d rather be able to watch [Scherzer] Pitch as far as I was done and I had to do all my stuff so I really couldn’t see him Pitch,” deGrom said. “He did the same thing and got ready while I was throwing, so I think it’s cooler to sit there and watch him attack racquets.”
According to Showalter, Scherzer volunteered to relieve deGrom in the middle of an inning if necessary. The manager found the idea of such pictures amusing.
“That would have been [Scherzer] running across the field to relieve Jake,” Showalter said.
DeGrom hit a top speed of 99 mph with his fastball, but also emphasized his off-speed pitches. Notably, 19 of his 52 pitches were sliders.
“I wasn’t as sharp today as I was on my first so I tried to get the fastball to the glove side and my slider was decent in the first inning and then I realized it wasn’t as sharp so I threw more of that ‘ said deGrom. “It was all based on feeling and trying to get everything done the way I wanted it to be, but the second time against a different team is to be expected, so next time I’ll really focus on really preparing and making sure everything is where I want it to be.”
https://nypost.com/2022/03/27/jacob-degrom-max-scherzer-sparkle-as-they-pitch-in-same-mets-game/ Jacob deGrom and Max Scherzer sparkle when they serve in the same Mets game