Mets Monday Morning GM: When do we adjust our Max Scherzer expectations?

New York Mets v Milwaukee Brewers
New York Mets v Milwaukee Brewers / Stacy Revere/GettyImages

New York Mets fans have been in a panic about Max Scherzer. The healthy ace of the staff at the moment survived his first start and didn’t look so sharp in his second. It’s an early worst-case scenario for the Mets. With Scherzer dulled, what is this team?

The Mets did manage to get through the first half of the 2022 season without one of their aces, Jacob deGrom. There was even an extended period when Scherzer joined him on the IL. The difference between last year and this is obvious. The pitching staff as a whole was much better in 2022 than it looks in 2023.

This puts a lot of pressure on Scherzer to be anything like the future Hall of Famer he has been throughout his career. Pressure is a privilege, though. We should expect only the best from the guy. But at what point do we lower the bar?

Expectations for NY Mets pitcher Max Scherzer shouldn’t get lowered too quickly

Two starts isn’t enough for us to think Scherzer has hit the “veteran wall” many top starters will bump their heads into at this stage of their career, if they haven’t already. We should still expect him to help stop a losing streak and look masterful on the mound. There is one expectation, however, we can adjust a little more quickly.

Scherzer can still pitch well, but maybe limiting him to five or six innings is what the Mets can expect. The speed of the game has increased. It’s going to put some added pressure on a veteran who has always pitched on his own terms. Now he has a watch to worry about.

Scherzer has been whatever the next step above an innings eater would be. Innings devourer? He doesn’t just get through games and give his team length. He gives them a chance to win nearly every time out.

Until Scherzer starts getting shell-shocked early on in games, there is a way to navigate around any potential decline. This may be a year where Scherzer doesn’t step on the mound in the seventh inning at all. It’s too soon to tell, but the early returns of him appearing to collapse around the time a team gets to see him for a second or third time is troublesome.

A five-inning start from Scherzer doesn’t seem like enough for what his role with this ball club was meant to be. It might be what we get.

Monday’s start against the San Diego Padres will be a big one for him and his reputation in New York. The revenge spot against the team that hammered him in the postseason needs to have a happier ending. Three starts may not be enough to know exactly what Scherzer will give the Mets this season, but more of the same is a good hint that our expectations need to adjust.

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