This is just the beginning for Max Scherzer as the Mets show real ambition

At the end, there was a large group of Mets fans ringing in the lower stands of American Family Field, counting down the last outs. Maybe the players weren’t ready for a total party when Adam Ottavino knocked out Hunter Renfroe with a dirty slider, earning a 7-2 win over the Brewers and securing a playoff spot.

The players, and the owner, they have other worlds to conquer.

« It was a modest celebration, » said Steve Cohen, wearing a Mets cap and blue Mets jersey inside the victorious visiting team’s clubhouse. “It’s a first step. When we go further there will be bigger celebrations and that’s how it should be.

But people were shouting « Let’s go, Mets! » had no qualms about not having fun. It may be a sad commentary on the franchise’s cursed history that this will only be the 10th postseason trip for the Mets in 61 years of life, but one thing is certain: Mets fans don’t never take the good times for granted. They would appreciate that.

And there was, in truth, so much to enjoy.

And that’s in large part thanks to the 68 pitches delivered by Max Scherzer who rejected the Brewers formation twice – 18 up, 18 down. Scherzer has never been better as a Met, never seemed more in control of his powers. Too bad everyone – even Scherzer, usually a reluctant servant of the height count – knew that was going to be his limit.

« I knew where I was in this rehab process, » said Scherzer, who earned his 200th career victory and improved to 10-4 with a 2.15 ERA.

Max Scherzer pitched Monday in the Mets' win over the Brewers.
Max Scherzer pitched Monday in the Mets’ win over the Brewers.

Normally, working on a perfecto, Scherzer would have rumbled at the sight of Seth Lugo coming off in the sixth inning, and he would have charged Buck Showalter and Jeremy Hefner like Earl Campbell on the goal line if they had tried to keep him. far from the last innings.

But Scherzer just finished a second stint on the disabled list with a recalcitrant oblique. The Mets have higher ambitions than just qualifying for the tournament. There are always the Braves, who don’t want to let the Mets breathe, and there are those three games in Atlanta that everyone thinks will determine the NL East.

Scherzer will pitch in this series, and assuming his next start — either in Oakland on Sunday or at home against Miami two days later — goes well, he’ll pitch against the Braves, in exactly the kind of game that drew him to former enemy territory. , which prompted Cohen to guarantee him $130 million.

It’s hard to imagine he could be better than he was Monday in Milwaukee. But a reasonable facsimile will be fine. On back-to-back days, Jacob deGrom sandwiched 15 straight strikeouts (including 13 at-bats) between outbursts from Oneil Cruz, then Scherzer went 18-for-18 against a Brewers lineup that had been feasting on the Yankees all weekend. -end.

« That’s what you play the game for, » Scherzer said. « You play to get to the playoffs. »

Assuming those traveling Mets fans end up in their hotel rooms too excited to sleep, seeing deGrom and Scherzer’s opportunities two out of five days should make the insomnia bearable.

The Mets and Braves have surrounded each other like rival wolf packs for three months now, and it’s hard to believe the two teams won’t be better at intensity and chasing. The recipient of the joker will always be a dangerous out. But it is the first place that will command the true price. You win the division, you avoid the Dodgers as long as possible.

How about drawing the Dodgers? You say thank you for the spot in the NLCS. Then you try your luck against a team you’ve beaten four times in seven tries this year.

Max Scherzer pitched six scoreless innings after returning from an oblique injury.
Max Scherzer pitched six scoreless innings after returning from an oblique injury.
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Ah, but all that is yet to come. Far ahead.

For the moment, for Monday, there was champagne but it was distributed civilly, in glasses. There will be other opportunities for splashing, wetting and showering.

« We understand that, » Scherzer sad, « but you have to celebrate the good times too. »

Monday was the good time on full screen. Pete Alonso hit a baseball midway through Sheboygan. Scherzer was flawless. The Mets clinched their ticket to October and gave a horde of their fans a night to revel in a city that knows how to help and cheer jubilation.

« You have to have Stage 1, » manager Buck Showalter said, « to get to the others. »

Step 1. As a wise man might say: Put it in the books.


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