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The New York Mets are facing another setback in their starting rotation, this time with Max Scherzer.
It certainly hasn’t been the expected start to the 2023 MLB season for the Mets, and the news continues to get worse.
In March, prized offseason acquisition Justin Verlander missed the start of the season with an injury.
READ: METS ARE GONNA METS: JUSTIN VERLANDER PLACED ON INJURED LIST BEFORE HIS FIRST START
After a lengthy absence, Verlander returned recently to make his first start.
But good things apparently don’t last long in Queens. With Mets fans finally thinking they’d have their two aces together, Max Scherzer was scratched at the last minute Tuesday.
According to the team, Scherzer’s “neck spasms” forced the team to call up David Peterson to start in Cincinnati against the Reds.
Scherzer Emblematic Of Mets’ Struggles
The Mets came into the season with extremely high expectations, due in part to an MLB-high $360 million payroll. Before luxury tax penalties.
But injuries and underperformance have led to a disastrous 17-18 start. Even worse, the Atlanta Braves have been one of baseball’s hottest teams, opening up a seven game lead in early May.
The disparity in wins and losses is bad enough, but the Mets might be fortunate to have even 17 wins. Scherzer, even when healthy, hasn’t been himself, struggling to a 5.56 ERA with a career low strikeout rate. Even more surprisingly, per Fangraphs, he’s actually hurt the team, with a -0.1 WAR.
Perhaps even more concerning than results is his fastball velocity, which at 93.6 mph is nearly one mph down from his 94.5 mph average in 2021.
Carlos Carrasco has been on the injured list with an arm injury, and had his rehab delayed by an illness.
Francisco Lindor has also struggled, with just a .216 batting average.
As a result, the Mets have been outscored by 10 runs on the season, compared to Atlanta’s +56.
Their playoff odds have been dramatically impacted as well, dropping from over 85% to just 61%.
That’s a disastrous result for a team spending nearly $400 million this year.
At this point, it’s unclear if Scherzer will require a stint on the injured list. But being scratched from a start is never a good sign, especially given his already shaky performance.
There’s plenty of time for the Mets to recover. But to this point in the season, the team’s strategy of entrusting their rotation to 38 and 40-year-old pitchers doesn’t look particularly wise.