Despite Max Scherzer’s gem, Mets can’t complete Rockies sweep

Part of Sunday’s game between the Mets and the Rockies, which the Rockies won 1-0, was entirely predictable.

Max Scherzer flexed his muscles all over Colorado, which entered the game ranked 24th out of 30 teams in wRC+.

Rockies pitcher German Marquez filling Mets bats with pudding, however, was much harder to predict. No pitcher in the majors this season has given up a harder contact than Marquez, whose 5.22 ERA before leaving Sunday was the highest of any qualified National League starter. A 2021 All-Star, who has filled the role of the Rockies’ de facto ace on several occasions, Marquez looked like his best on Sunday.

“Coming into the show, I knew he was going to be a challenge,” Buck Showalter said after his team failed to figure Marquez out. “He always had a very good arm. Hard pit, really attack, stay ahead, slider is hard recon pitch.

For his seven innings, Marquez was nearly untouchable. The Mets had one hit and two walks against him. The 27-year-old right-hander gave up ten straight between Pete Alonso’s first-inning walk and Jeff McNeil’s fifth-inning single, the Met’s only hit of the afternoon before Colorado does not go to his bullpen. Marquez was able to use the Mets’ contact-oriented strategy against them as the limited number of strikeouts he racked up helped keep his count down.

When Marquez was on the bump, the Mets made four outs on the first or second pitch of an at-bat. The only time they got a runner in running position against him — McNeil moved up to second after breaking the no-hitter offer — Marquez quickly knocked out Tyler Naquin and fielded Brett Baty. The Baty liner in center field was at 104 mph, but in a perfect encapsulation of the Mets’ day at home plate, she found Garrett Hampson’s glove.

The game entered the seventh inning with just two combined hits: McNeil’s single and Colorado stalwart Charlie Blackmon’s bloop over third base during the start of first. But CJ Cron led half of the visitor’s seventh with a frozen string in left field, then two field hits (a true bunt and a swing bunt) loaded the bases. Scherzer did not go easy on the sleeve. He swung Sam Hilliard on a slider for the first out, but with the Rockies’ bases still drunk, rookie catcher Brian Serven threw a ball for a sacrifice fly.

“It’s just baseball,” Scherzer agreed. “You throw in this game long enough, it’s going to happen. That’s why you have to constantly be on top of everything you do, because there are so many little ways to get beat.

That’s how this game was won. Baty tried to trigger something in eighth reliever Carlos Estevez by driving a ball into the outfield for a one-out single. But neither pinch hitter Starling Marte nor Brandon Nimmo could get him in, even after a wild pitch scuttled Baty in second down.

For Scherzer, his 11 strikeouts propelled him to tie with Roger Clemens for third all-time in double-digit batting games. Scherzer and the Rocket have accomplished the feat 110 times, behind Nolan Ryan and Randy Johnson. Scherzer fell short in his pursuit of 200 career wins, however, and his teammates were oddly short all day against a Rockies team that had won just 18 of its 60 games away from Coors Field this season.

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Scherzer’s stellar outing lowered his ERA for the season to 2.27, and he’s now thrown six or more innings each of the last 11 times he took the ball. Even after a season-high 112 shots, Scherzer told reporters after the game that he felt good and thought it was the right time of the season for him to push his physical limits because it will make throwing 100 throws in the future feel like a lot. Easier.

“We did a lot of good things today,” Scherzer said. “I think I came out today with a good tempo. Around the fourth inning, that’s when I really started locating the baseball and really started working with it. [catcher James] McCann well.

“Max was outstanding,” Showalter said. “It was impressive.”

However, all of those things are essentially meaningless in the Mets’ overall run. Personal accolades and fun facts don’t help a team lock down their division, which is always up for grabs given how well Atlanta played in the second half.

The Rockies’ closest, Daniel Bard – a 37-year-old man who the Colorado front office bizarrely gave a two-year, $19 million contract extension instead of getting something for him at the deadline. trades – got the last three outs to help the men in purple avoid a four-game sweep.

Winning three out of four games is basically how the Mets got to this point in their glorious season, but when the only loss comes against a team like the Rox, it could turn into a mountainous missed opportunity depending on how the final standings see it. .

“It’s an everyday sport,” Showalter said. “You are going to have ups and downs, mentally and emotionally. You are not robotic. I thought today was more a product of their guys being really on top of their game.

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