Mets pounds Cardinals after Max Scherzer leaves with injury

Taking the ball from Max Scherzer can be a daunting task for his manager, but after his 87th throw and in the middle of an attack Wednesday night, the Mets ace turned the ball around.

“I’m done, I’m done,” Scherzer said, waving his hand around his neck toward the dugout.

And with that, the crowd of 32,798 at Citi Field began to hold its breath.

After a brief meeting with a coach, Scherzer left the mound for “uncomfort on the left side,” the team said after the Mets’ 11-4 win over the Cardinals.

Scherzer, who will have an MRI scan Thursday morning to determine the exact nature of the injury, threw Albert Pujols in the dirt with two outs in the sixth inning his final pitch for an 85-mile slider.

“I just felt a hiss on my left side and just knew I was done,” said Scherzer.

Pete Alonso celebrates his home run in the Mets’ win over the Cardinals on Wednesday.
Robert Sabo

“I don’t think it’s a big burden,” added the right-hander. “I was kind of tense and then suddenly it went. But I don’t feel like I really ripped it. It only got worse. Hopefully I got out of there fast enough to avoid a big, big injury here. I know slopes and ribs, these things can be uncomfortable. Hopefully I was able to avoid a serious injury.”

The 37-year-old Scherzer, who has proven to be durable throughout his career, has been everything the Mets hoped for so far this season after signing him to a three-year, $130 million contract. The three-time Cy Young winner struggled with muscle tension at the end of spring training but caught it early enough to miss just a few days. That didn’t slow him down much and he’s posted a 2.54 ERA in eight starts through Wednesday.

The Mets (25-14) have endured multiple injuries in their rotation so far this season, but can ill afford to add Scherzer to this list. Jacob deGrom missed spring training with a stress reaction in his right shoulder blade and his standout substitute, Tylor Megill, joined him on Sunday’s injury list with tendonitis in his right bicep.

“If we need to make adjustments, we make them,” manager Buck Showalter said. “Max is obviously a really good pitcher and pitches for us once every five, six or seven days. We want him. If not, the season goes on, right? They don’t wait for us. Ask Jake.”

Mets starting pitcher Max Scherzer exits the game with discomfort in his side.
Robert Sabo

Chris Bassitt, Carlos Carrasco and Taijuan Walker also had strong starts to the season, and the Mets entered Monday with a 3.28 rotational ERA — the sixth-best in the majors. David Peterson is the lead candidate returning from Triple-A Syracuse to take Megill’s place in the rotation next time out, but the Mets’ depth would be tested further with Scherzer sidelined.

Late Wednesday night, Scherzer said it was too early to know if he would miss the time, leaving it to the MRI scan.

“He’s a bulldog and I know he likes to compete,” said Pete Alonso, who opened the game with a triple homer in the eighth inning. “But at the same time, he’s really smart. If he kept pushing and kept going, something much worse could have happened, so I’m glad he was smart. … I just want him to recover so we can have him for as long as possible.”

The Mets have also been dealing with other injuries recently, including catcher James McCann (hamate fracture, surgery) and rescuers Trevor May (right upper arm stress reaction) and Sean Reid-Foley (Tommy John surgery).

Mets’ Luis Guillorme puts down a bunt to score Jeff McNeill.
Bill Kostron

“We don’t wallow in self-pity,” Showalter said. “No one really cares about your problems. Our fans do, but the people who play against us don’t care. We like the people we surround ourselves with. Nobody with Max’s track record, but this isn’t a heaven falls team. ”

With the half-inning before Scherzer was eliminated, the Mets assembled a four-run rally to take a 6-2 lead. Then, after the Cardinals got down to 6-4 at the top of the round of 16, the Mets opened the floodgates in the bottom of the inning with a five-run burst.

“Just a great team win,” said Scherzer. Mets pounds Cardinals after Max Scherzer leaves with injury


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