Max Scherzer's use of the pitch clock proves it can be an ace's best friend

Mar 3, 2023; Port St. Lucie, Florida, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Max Scherzer (21) throws a
Mar 3, 2023; Port St. Lucie, Florida, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Max Scherzer (21) throws a / Rich Storry-USA TODAY Sports

Max Scherzer didn’t have the best of starts for the New York Mets on Friday, but he got to toy with the new pitch clock. The talk of the preseason, we got a taste of Scherzer’s brilliance and how the pitch clock can actually be a weapon.

We’ve seen a couple of funky things happen in the first week of Spring Training relating to the pitch clock. Wandy Peralta had a 20-second strikeout for the New York Yankees. A game between the Atlanta Braves and Boston Red Sox ended in a tie when a pitch clock violation was called on the batter. It was the final strike of the game.

Scherzer showed a whole new element of Rob Manfred’s latest invention. He took the ball up to the line of scrimmage and let the clock run down. After a “hut, hut” and a few "Omahas" came the “hike.”

You better believe the Mets will talk about other ways to take advantage of these new rules

Knowing the rule book was a part of the Mets’ plan in 2022 under Buck Showalter. Who could forget when J.D. Davis took an extra base during an appeal to see if Dominic Smith tagged up too soon on a sacrifice fly? It wasn’t a fresh rule and yet it’s not something I think too many fans have ever seen happen.

The pitch clock is brand new to everyone. Finding ways to get into the hitter’s head and catch him off-guard is one way to spin this rule into a tool for a pitcher. As we see in Riley Adams’ at-bat against Scherzer, readiness will be important for anyone who digs into the box.

Mets fans know better than anyone how a quick pitch is far from foolproof. Infamously used by Jeurys Familia during the 2015 World Series, some hitters see it coming or at least are able to catch up to it.

The phrase “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks” might be true in a lot of areas of life. This isn’t fitting for Scherzer. There is no trick to teach him. This old dog is the educator, not the student.

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