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New York Mets fans can breathe a sigh of relief after hearing what ace Max Scherzer had to say following an abrupt ending to his start on Sunday at Citi Field.
Scherzer left the Mets’ game against the Washington Nationals early due to “fatigue on his left side” after 67 pitches through five innings. But fans watching were likely in panic when Scherzer immediately called his outing complete and walked off the mound looking distraught.
“Wasn’t anything specific, I don’t have any strains, it’s just left side was getting tired a lot quicker than usual,” Scherzer said via The New York Post. “So this was a precautionary move, given the history of the oblique.”
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Scherzer was already on the shelf for seven weeks this season due to an oblique strain. It’s always a tricky soft tissue injury that can resurface despite a full recovery.
But The Post added that Scherzer woke up Sunday feeling fine, so imaging is not needed.
So, as a precautionary move, Scherzer made the executive decision to call his night done.
“Was there a scenario where I could go out there and pitch the sixth and be OK? Yeah, it could have happened,” he explained. “But if I went out there in the sixth and got hurt, there’s no way I could come in here and look the guys in the face and say I made the right decision. Better to be safe than sorry in this scenario.”
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Scherzer is a seasoned veteran who understands what’s at stake for his team. The Mets have a two-game lead in the NL East over the Atlanta Braves, who are charging toward that division title. With just a month left to play, Scherzer’s presences in the rotation, especially when it comes time for the postseason, is a necessity for the Mets.
“You just couldn’t take any risks, especially where the calendar’s at,” he said. “There’s no time left to re-ramp back up. So I think that played just as much of an important factor in coming out after five.”
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The Mets have displayed their depth and clutch play all season long, making them prime World Series contenders for the first time since their trip to that dance in 2015. Scherzer’s addition to the rotation has been an expected jolt not just to the team’s pitching stats, but to the locker room.
The 38-year-old is a natural leader who leaves it all out on the field, even if he’s not scheduled to pitch. The Mets have matched Scherzer’s intensity and never-back-down attitude.
And since Scherzer’s returned from that IL stint with his oblique, he has a 2.22 ERA over 12 starts, jumping right back into the fold.
Scherzer doesn’t believe he will be missing his next start either.
“Let this get some days off and I should be feeling good pretty soon,” he said.
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The Mets would lose this contest to the Nationals, 7-1.