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#pounditSaturday, November 26, 2022

Max Scherzer explains why he came out of game early

Max Scherzer looking on

Oct 17, 2021; Cumberland, Georgia, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Max Scherzer (31) has his glove and hat inspected between innings against the Atlanta Braves during the fourth inning in game two of the 2021 NLCS at Truist Park. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Mets saw their lead in the NL East shrink to two games after they lost to the Washington Nationals on Saturday night, but the biggest story of the game was Max Scherzer’s premature exit. The right-hander insists there is no need to panic, however.

Scherzer allowed three hits and one earned run in five innings against his former team. He pulled himself from the game after throwing just 67 pitches. The game was tied 1-1 at the time, so it was obvious something was wrong. Scherzer explained to reporters after the game that he experienced “general fatigue on the left side.”

“This was a precautionary move given the history with the oblique (injury). Was it a scenario where I could have gone out there and pitched the sixth and been OK? Yeah, that could have happened,” Scherzer said. “But if I went out there in the sixth and I got hurt, there’s no way I could come in (the locker room) and look the guys in the face and say that I made the right decision. It’s better to be safe than sorry in this scenario.”

New York’s bullpen preserved the 1-1 tie until the eighth, so it’s hard to say the outcome would have been different if Scherzer remained in. Lane Thomas gave the Nationals a 2-1 lead with a solo home run off Adam Ottavino in the eighth. Washington then broke the game open with five runs in the ninth en route to a 7-1 win.

Scherzer has been his usual dominant self after signing a huge free agent contract with the Mets. The 38-year-old is 9-4 with a 2.26 ERA. He missed time with an oblique injury earlier in the year, which is why he was trying to play it safely. Obviously, the Mets need a healthy Scherzer if they want to make a deep postseason run.

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