The baseball gods have given Mets fans Steve Cohen, and Buck Showalter, and M-V-Pete Alonso, and a professional outfit that has been taught how to play winning baseball … a mentally tough, resilient team that has weathered the absences of Max Scherzer and Jacob deGrom.
But it is not lost on the Mets fan that the defending World Series champion Braves have conceded nothing, and are forever lurking not terribly far behind their Boys of Summer.
You can’t blame them for pleading: HURRY BACK, MAX.
And, following his 65-pitch rehab start in Binghamton on Tuesday night, you can’t blame Scherzer for expressing a burning desire to hurry back.
He isn’t one who is content collecting on his three-year, $130 million contract unless he is driven to chase a World Series, and he can’t do that in Binghamton.
Showalter will make the call on whether Scherzer should be summoned to pitch in Miami on Sunday or whether the left oblique he strained on May 19 is better served waiting a turn.
“I want to be in the big leagues,” Scherzer said after Tuesday’s rehab start, “not be a Rumble Pony.”
No surprise there from a three-time Cy Young winner who has been a horse for much of his major league life.
By now, it should be evident to one and all that In Buck They Should All Trust. Including Scherzer.
“It’s a good step for him,” Showalter said. “Physically he felt fine, that’s the most important thing. He’s physically pitching well enough to continue to make strides to join us at some point.”
Trevor Williams, who belongs in the bullpen, tried his darndest in his sixth start, but third-inning home runs by Jose Altuve and Yordan Alvarez had the Mets in a 3-0 hole that wound up as an 8-2 defeat at Minute Maid Park in Houston.
DeGrom faced live batters in Port St. Lucie on Tuesday for the first time since suffering his shoulder blade injury in spring training, and it went well, but he likely won’t be a factor until after the All-Star break. Any deGrom is better than no deGrom, but expecting Cy deGrom is a pipe dream, considering that his last start came last July 7.
Chris Bassitt and Carlos Carrasco have for the most part held the fort, but Scherzer is The Straw That Stirs The Drink on the mound.
Even if the Mets were not 5 ¹/₂ games ahead of the Braves, who lost to the Giants, you could etch it in stone that Showalter would not panic, because it isn’t in his DNA.
“We can lose one or two games and we know we are good,” closer Edwin Diaz said at the end of the last homestand. “Every time when we go out I know the other team’s thinking that this team’s really good. We can be losing by five, six runs and we come back easily. They know they can’t relax.”
It was the Astros who stayed relaxed after Alonso’s sixth-inning home run (20th) made it a 7-1 game, and after Eduardo Escobar’s solo shot in the seventh made it 7-2.
“We got the chance to make it to the World Series this year,” Diaz said.
Yes they do. With a healthy Max Scherzer.
“I want to get back out there so bad,” Scherzer said.
Hurry Back, Max.
Or Hurry Up And Wait if the manager makes that call.