Spring Training is underway with pitchers and catchers reporting this week. Mets fans are getting their first look at Justin Verlander in his new team’s gear and Max Scherzer is back for another year.
Scherzer met with the media on Wednesday and said that one of his goals this year is to throw 200 innings.
The 38-year-old pitcher missed some time with injuries last year, resulting in a total of 145 ⅓ innings across 23 starts. In fact, Scherzer hasn’t thrown 200 innings since the 2018 season in Washington.
WFAN’s Evan Roberts of the Audacy Original Podcast “Rico Brogna” explained why he doesn’t want Scherzer to reach that mark this season and even proclaimed that he’s a fan of load management.
“We, as Met fans, fully expect to be in the postseason… We saw Max Scherzer last year during the regular season when he was healthy – and he pitched a majority of the season — … he was great,” Roberts said (4:14 in player above). “But when it mattered the most, Max Scherzer sucked. When it mattered in Atlanta he wasn’t good. When it mattered at Citi Field against the Padres he was getting booed off the mound. I’m not telling you he struggled because he pitched too much. I can’t claim that, he only threw 145 innings. But we define seasons now based on what happens in October.”
Scherzer was pretty great in the 2022 season. He had a career-best 2.29 ERA and a 0.91 WHIP while going 11-5 in 23 starts.
With six teams now making the playoffs in each league, which is getting closer to the NBA’s eight-team per conference field, there is something to think about regarding load management.
“I declare to you an opinion of mind that’s evolved. And it’s evolved because baseball evolved. I haven’t changed, they changed,” Roberts said. “I don’t want Max Scherzer throwing 200 innings. Period. Stop. I don’t. I’m not going to scream – I promise you, Hoff will call me out if I do – on pulling Max too early in the seventh inning of a game in May. I used to. I used to b—h about that stuff all the time! But the truth is there’s a bigger picture now.
“And with six teams making the postseason and Max being a freaking fossil at 38 years old, 39 in late July … I don’t want him to pitch 200 innings. I don’t want him to throw 115 pitches in a given start. Because the priority is October. I want him to miss a start here and there. Not because of injury but because of Buck making a decision, ‘hey, we got to keep him fresh.’”
Some teams have experimented with six-man rotations in recent years and that could become more common as time goes on. The Mets are one of those teams that may benefit from it given their two aging aces and Kodai Senga coming over from Japan where he is used to a lighter workload.
“You may not like this term. You may scream at your radio or your phone right now and say ‘Evan it’s not the same!’ but I’ll say it anyway: I’m a fan of load management,” Roberts said. “We hate it in the NBA, it’s a curse word, but in Major League Baseball, is it?”
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