Mets’ Max Scherzer ‘in a funk right now’ after latest disappointing start

New York Mets starting pitcher Max Scherzer (21) signals before pitching in first inning of a game against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park.
New York Mets starting pitcher Max Scherzer (21) signals before pitching in first inning of a game against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park. / Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports

Just five days removed from his best start of the season, looking like the Max Scherzer of old as he carved up the Los Angeles Dodgers’ potent lineup, Scherzer reverted back to the pitcher that the Mets have seen a concerning amount of times this year, one that allows home runs at a pace seen at the Home Run Derby.

On Saturday night, with the Mets looking to sweep the doubleheader against the Boston Red Sox and win their second series in a row, Scherzer allowed four home runs in his six innings of work, including a leadoff homer to Jarren Duran that put New York in an early hole and two shots to Triston Casas, the second of which gave Boston the lead once again after the Mets’ offense fought back.

“That’s the bad. I get it. I own it,” Scherzer said. “Not here to make excuses for it. I’ll answer for all of those pitches. That’s the bad. The good? Look, I came in saying I was gonna throw a better slider, I thought I did… It’s just one of those things I’m in a funk right now where I’m just homer prone.”

For the most part, Scherzer’s slider on Saturday was better than it’s been this season. However, one of the four home runs did come on a hanging slider to Yu Chang that was in the middle of the plate. Scherzer said he had a bad grip on the ball and that he shouldn’t have even thrown the pitch.

“The rest of the sliders for today I thought were actually really good,” he said.

The other three home runs came on three different pitches: curveball, cutter and fastball. Duran’s leadoff home run that hit the Pesky Pole came on a curveball, but it won’t cause Scherzer to “lose sleep over it” because the pitch was where he wanted it and in most other ballparks, it would’ve been a foul ball.

The two to Casas are a bit more concerning because Scherzer said he didn’t execute the pitches where he wanted to, throwing them down and in (right where Casas likes it) instead of up and in.

“Both Casas homers are on me,” Scherzer said. “I got to execute better. I got to get to that up and in quadrant much better than I did tonight.”

The inconsistencies of Scherzer’s season have been hard to explain. Far too often, the 38-year-old has followed up a good start or a few good starts with a start like he had on Saturday night. In fact, in his last three starts on the road, Scherzer has allowed nine home runs in 17 innings.

“Baseball’s funny, I don’t know,” he said. “The game always finds a way to surprise you and punch you in the face. Just gotta find a way to adapt to it and make changes and go out there next time and make quality pitches. That’s the only thing you can do at this level.”