Max Scherzer’s no-nonsense attitude toward baseball endears him to the Mets, but also means he isn’t going to volunteer if he’s hurting.
After the right-hander was torched for seven runs in Game 1 of the wild-card series, Scherzer (who missed two September starts with an oblique issue) indicated he’s fine physically, and manager Buck Showalter backed the right-hander Saturday.
“What [Scherzer] always puts first is the team,” Showalter said before the Mets beat the Padres, 7-3, in Game 2 at Citi Field. “He knows when somebody else has better bullets than him. With him that’s what is tough this time of year: You are waiting for him to fall on his track record … sometimes you just tip your hat to [the opponent].”
Told that David Cone said on ESPN’s broadcast that Scherzer’s mechanics appeared off, Showalter said: “What does David know?”
Showalter said his trust lies in Scherzer to tell him if he can’t pitch.
“Max is not going to put the team in harm’s way,” Showalter said.
Joely Rodriguez was removed from the roster with shoulder discomfort and replaced by Taijuan Walker. The Mets had initially excluded Walker from the roster because he pitched Tuesday and the team will need a starter if it reaches Game 1 of the NLDS. Rodriguez, per rule, won’t be eligible for the NLDS roster.
Darin Ruf received the start at DH on Saturday because of his solid numbers against the Padres and Blake Snell in particular, according to Showalter. Ruf began play 3-for-7 with three walks and a homer in his career against the left-hander. The slumping Ruf — who was 0-for-1 with a walk before Terrance Gore pinch ran for him after Ruf was hit by a pitch — also had five career homers and an .815 OPS against the Padres.
Showalter also cited the value of bench flexibility — if Francisco Alvarez started at DH he couldn’t move to catcher during the game without the Mets losing the DH spot.
Ruf finished the regular season on the injured list with a neck strain.
“Darin has worked very hard to try to get back, so we’ll see,” Showalter said. “I like both of them as options, but it also gives us some versatility off the bench.”
Endy Chavez threw out the ceremonial first pitch before Game 2.