Mets vs. Padres score, takeaways: San Diego crushes four Max Scherzer homers to push New York to brink – CBS Sports

Mets vs.  Padres score, takeaways: San Diego crushes four Max Scherzer homers to push New York to brink - CBS Sports

The San Diego Padres defeated the New York Mets by a score of 7-1 in Game 1 of the National League Wild Card Series on Friday night at Citi Field. That result gives the pastors a 1-0 lead in the best of three series that serves as the opening round in the new playoff structure of MLB.

Now for some takeaways from Game 1.

Bell got to Scherzer early

It didn’t take long for the Padres to do damage against Mets starter and fellow pitcher Max Scherzer, as first baseman Josh Bell in the top of the first hit this thunderous two-run homer to the opposite field:

That 95-mph fastball from Scherzer caught too much up the middle, and Bell didn’t miss. That homer left the bat at 107.8 mph and traveled 419 feet to deep left-center. That had to be a huge moment for Bell, who has struggled badly since coming over in the Juan Soto blockbuster just before the trade deadline. With the Padres in the regular season, Bell slashed .192/.316/.271 with just three home runs in 53 games. That came on the heels of a very productive 103 game streak with the Nationals. Perhaps more concerning is that Bell saw its quality-of-contract metrics drop significantly on San Diego’s watch.

Well, there were no such quality-of-contact concerns on this one above, and Bell is now the author of what may be the Padres’ biggest home run of the season so far.

Then a group of other priests arrived at Scherzer

It wasn’t just Bell who took Scherzer court. So did Trent Grisham in the second and Jurickson Profar in the fifth. The next batter after Profar, Manny Machado, became the fourth priest to homer Scherzer in Game 1, and this one sent him to the showers:

At that point Trevor May came on, and Scherzer’s night was over: 4 2/3 IP, 7 H, 7 R, 4 SO, 0 BB, 4 HR. That comes to 13.50 ERA for the game. This is just the second time in his career, playoffs or regular season, that he has allowed at least seven runs and four home runs in a game. As for the postseason itself, here it is:

This disastrous outing comes right after Scherzer struggled in a crucial start against the Braves — four runs on nine hits in 5 2/3 innings when the division title hung in the balance. Maybe he’s still not fully over his oblique injury, maybe he’s suddenly feeling his 38 years, or maybe it’s just a cruel short-term fluke that can happen to anyone in baseball.

Scherzer is a three-time Cy Young winner and future first-ballot Hall of Famer, but he’s looked nothing like that lately.

Darvish was great

While Scherzer had a Game 1 to forget, the Padres’ Darvish had one to remember. His work for the night:

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Darvish threw Mets hitters off balance with his usual dizzying array of offerings — he threw five different pitches Friday, highlighted by his cutter. His velocity ranged from 95.2 mph on a fastball to Francisco Lindor in the fifth to 66.9 mph on a curve to Eduardo Escobar in that same inning. While his strikeout tally wasn’t what it typically was, hard contact eluded the Mets for much of the night. The only blemish came on a solo home run by Escobar. Also worth mentioning is that Darvish’s seven innings of work meant a light night for the Padres’ bullpen, especially by postseason standards.

DeGrom is next for New York

We already knew that lefty Blake Snell would start Game 2 for the Padres, but the Mets’ decision hinged on how Game 1 went. If they won, the plan seemed to be to keep ace Jacob deGrom in the hopes that they could close out the Padres in Game 2 and line up deGrom for Game 1 of the NLDS. If they lost Game 1 to San Diego, then deGrom would start Game 2, which would be an elimination game for the Mets. Well, the latter scenario, as you now know, is what unfolded, and deGrom will indeed go Saturday against Snell and the Padres. The Padres are now one win away from a matchup with the NL West-rival Dodgers in the NLDS.

Game 2 on Saturday is scheduled to start at 7:37 pm ET.

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