MILWAUKEE — Two consecutive shutout routs at the hands of the tiny-market Brewers could just turn out to be a blip in a marathon of a Mets schedule, the low point of a very long season for baseball’s best-paid team. But the worries are starting to pile up, and two more potential concerns that popped up Tuesday have to be considered quite the shock — one a bigger shock than the next.
The Mets’ offense certainly is a worry after they were blanked on consecutive days by Freddy Peralta and Wade Miley (and a whole host of little-known relievers). Brewers ace Corbin Burnes is next on the schedule, and that doesn’t bode particularly well considering the Mets have been outscored 19-0 since arriving here.
It’s hard to even type this with sincerity … but could the great Max Scherzer become yet another legit concern?
It’s way too early to make such a bold claim, but baseball’s best-paid player (tied with injured rotation mate Justin Verlander) allowed three straight home runs in the 9-0 loss Tuesday night. The Mets have to hope Scherzer’s uncharacteristically rough outing was a one-time thing because they certainly won’t last long if this is what they are going to get from the future Hall of Famer.
“I’ve just got to pitch better, that’s it. There’s no other quote. There’s no other way to do it,” Scherzer said. “I’ve got to pitch better and get outs when I need to get outs, especially with two strikes.”
Rowdy Tellez, Brian Anderson and Garrett Mitchell all cleared the fence in the sixth inning against Scherzer. Those aren’t three guys you’d think would take Scherzer deep, certainly not consecutively. He hasn’t been victimized like that in a few years. If he was shell shocked, he wasn’t showing it.
“This is the big leagues,” he said. “Anytime these guys can leave [the yard]. You’ve got to locate. When you don’t locate, that can happen.”
Scherzer’s track record makes you feel he will figure it out. He will locate better. He will put guys away with two strikes. He said he feels fine, and his stuff is fine. He said it’s likely the location. For now, that’s what he thinks. But he will go over the tape to be sure.
Mets manager Buck Showalter suggested he has plenty of faith in Scherzer. Of course, he has to say that. But of course, there’s plenty of reason to say that, too.
“He’s human. It gets magnified because we’re not scoring runs,” Showalter said. “That’s the thing that’s caught my eye more than anything. Max … I’m not too worried about that.”
These two days have been quite a shock to the system. After nearly two months living and luxuriating on the balmy east coast of Florida, the Mets arrived in this friendly but frigid Midwestern town and immediately went cold.
The big-spending Mets look a lot worse now than their 3-3 record. They were crushed by a solid team, to be sure, but it doesn’t look good. In the contest for baseball’s smallest market, it’s practically a dead heat between here and Cincinnati. Brewers owner Mark Attanasio assured me before the game Milwaukee is the winner as the smallest, at least the way MLB calculates things.
You wouldn’t know it from these last two game, where the Brew Crew have just pounded the Mets. The team from Queens looked a little sleepy on Monday, their first day out of Florida since they arrived in Port St. Lucie back on Feb. 13. But what’s Tuesday’s excuse?
Things looked so promising when the Mets began the season by winning three out of four in Miami. But they certainly have turned south in a hurry.
Let’s assume Scherzer figures it out as he has throughout his career, but even if gets back to normal, the Mets have a litany of more obvious issues that aren’t going away. In order they are …
1. Eduardo Escobar: Mets people cite his history of peaks and valleys in their hopeful outlook that he can start to look like a major league hitter again. Right now he looks pretty close to an automatic out. Not that the Mets were contemplating a call-up of Brett Baty who only has 41 career Triple-A plate appearances, but now that he’s nursing his thumb that’s off the table.
2. The bullpen: Infielder Luis Guillorme has looked about the best of the relievers the last couple nights. Even Brooks Raley, one of their prized trade acquisitions, was smoked for consecutive home runs (that was a theme Tuesday) and four runs in his inning.
3. Carlos Carrasco: The pitch cock cost him two penalties in his start Monday, but it’s pretty obvious the clock and the necessity to speed up wore him down. Conditioning could be an issue there.
Indeed, the issues are starting to add up. But it’s far from panic time. It’s not even time to make changes, Showalter said.
“I’m really happy to go with what I got,” Showalter said.
He has no choice.
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