Thursday, December 1, 2022

Max Scherzer holds Reds scoreless in return from injury

CINCINNATI — About three hours before game time on Tuesday, Max Scherzer was already in an agitated state, stalking around the visiting clubhouse at Great American Ball Park seeking out the coaches and teammates he would need to complete his pregame planning. Manager Buck Showalter noted that “he’s certainly prepared, that’s for sure,” which was no surprise for a pitcher who had spent the past seven weeks waiting for this moment.

When the Mets finally unleashed Scherzer following a nearly seven-week injured list stint due to a strained left oblique muscle, he proved it. Scherzer struck out the first batter he faced on a fastball near the outside corner, then two more in the second, two more in the third, and so on and so forth. By the time he completed his six allotted innings, Scherzer had racked up 11 strikeouts and allowed only two hits. He fanned every Reds batter at least once.

“It’s nice having his persona back,” Showalter said before the game. “Sometimes, that persona plays better when you’re contributing. So I think that’s what he’s looking for.”

Scherzer’s double-digit strikeout game was the 107th of his career, which ranks fifth in AL/NL history. He also passed John Smoltz for 18th place on the all-time strikeout list, with 3,090.

About the only discouraging aspect for Scherzer was that he received a no-decision, departing in a scoreless game. Despite his low pitch count of only 79, the Mets did not want to push Scherzer past six innings as he did not pitch more than 4 2/3 in either of his rehab starts.

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