Max Scherzer’s winning streak ends in Mets’ loss to Phillies

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PHILADELPHIA — Eventually, Max Scherzer was going to lose. At some point, his team was going to end up on the short end with him on the mound. 

For 24 straight starts, his teams — the Nationals, Dodgers and this season the Mets — found ways to win. Fifteen straight decisions had gone his way. That run, dating back to May 30 of last year, came to a close Sunday afternoon at Citizens Bank Park. 

“Heckuva run,” the three-time Cy Young Award winner said, following the 3-2 setback to the Phillies in Game 1 of a single-admission doubleheader. “Obviously it takes your teammates to be able to do that, I’ll always say that. But it’s also kind of cool to be a part of it. You’ve got to go out there and give your team a chance to win. That’s your job as a starting pitcher.” 

There was bad luck in this rare loss for Scherzer, who went six innings and allowed three earned runs. Of the Phillies’ 10 hits against him, five were of the soft variety, hit at less than 80 mph, according to Baseball Savant. Scherzer, though, was not at his best in blustery conditions. The 10 hits allowed were a season-high in six starts. His seven strikeouts equaled his second-fewest. He described the day, in which he faced the Phillies for the third time this season already, as a “grind.” 

Max Scherzer reacts during the Mets’ loss to the Phillies.
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He relied mostly on a fastball/cut fastball combination, without much of a feel for his off-speed stuff. He didn’t make excuses, or attribute his off afternoon to the windy and cold weather. 

“They had to deal with it as well,” Scherzer said. “I don’t sit here and complain about conditions when the other team has to do it. Just something you have to deal with.” 

Scherzer didn’t let it ruin his afternoon. He kept the damage to a minimum despite the frequent traffic. Scherzer registered just one 1-2-3 inning — his final inning of work. He got big outs against Nick Castellanos in the third and Kyle Schwarber in the fourth, stranding two runners aboard on each occasion. 

Ultimately, it wasn’t enough. The Mets couldn’t rally. For the first time in nearly a year, Scherzer lost. He had some tweaks in mind moving forward, but felt there were positives to take from his outing, too, such as not walking a batter in a start for the first time this season. 

“If you always just beat yourself up when you lose and don’t try to take away any type of good, that’s not productive,” Scherzer said. “I thought I did some things well, but I definitely need to pitch better.” 

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