Can Mets ace Max Scherzer do ‘crazy playoff stuff’ again after last year’s glitch?

NEW YORK – The question left Max Scherzer at a loss.

He was at his locker at Citi Field two days before the Mets declared him their Game 1 starter for Friday’s wild card round. On his last two postseason forays, he had volunteered to shoulder a heavy burden and surfaced between starts for relief. As a National in 2019, his bravery contributed to a championship. As a Dodger in 2021, he couldn’t catch more than 90 feet and couldn’t stand 60 feet, six inches from batsmen, due to the approach in his team’s final game of the season.

So the question: A year later – with his aging 38-year-old body and vulnerable left oblique muscle – would he play baseball with the same frequency? Could he be doing what he called “crazy playoff stuff”?

“Um…” Scherzer paused for eight seconds. “I don’t know. I manage some stuff. My weirdo is doing really well. You never know, in another five days, eight days it could be completely gone where something like, ‘Yeah, I can do crazy stuff.’ Or me can sit here and say, ‘Hey, we have to do this.’ I’m much more in tune with what I can and can’t do.”

At various times during the season, Mets pitching coach Jeremy Hefner said after Wednesday’s regular-season finale, Scherzer has expressed a willingness to take on the extra postseason work. His readiness depends on the health of his skew and the compression of the schedule. The lack of mid-lap days off makes the prospect of one-man wrecking crews less viable. Can Mets ace Max Scherzer do ‘crazy playoff stuff’ again after last year’s glitch?

John Verrall

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