WASHINGTON – Max Scherzer is the type who is going to try to play if he possibly can, even on a tweaked right hamstring that prevents him from driving his lower body into his pitches.
So the three-time Cy Young Award winner gave it a shot Wednesday night for the Washington Nationals against the New York Mets. It was clear right away -- to him and his catcher, pitching coach, manager -- that the usual power and command were missing.
Scherzer exited because of the leg issue after laboring through just one inning, overshadowing Juan Soto’s eventful 2020 debut for the World Series champs, and Rick Porcello collected his 150th career win in the New York Mets' 3-1 victory over Washington.
“The best decision,” said Scherzer, who needed 27 pitches to get three outs then gave way to Erick Fedde, “was just to get out of the game.”
He revealed afterward that he first felt something wrong with the hamstring before his previous start, six days earlier against Toronto. But he pitched anyway in that one and ended up throwing an MLB season-high 112 pitches across 7 1/3 scoreless innings.
The leg acted up again when Scherzer was doing his usual sprinting Tuesday ahead of facing the Mets.
“He said he was good enough to pitch,” manager Dave Martinez said. “He went out there and he couldn’t really push off. I mean, that's what we noticed.”
Scherzer's fastball was in the low 90s and he walked the first hitter, then gave up a single to the second.