Mets vs Padres score: San Diego hits four home runs against Max Scherzer to push New York to the brink

The San Diego Padres beat the New York Mets 7-1 in Game 1 of the National League Wild Card Series Friday night at Citi Field. The result gives the Padres a 1-0 lead in the best-of-three series that functions as the first round of MLB’s new playoff structure.

Now for some takeaways from Game 1.

Bell arrived early at Scherzer

The Padres didn’t need long to do damage against Mets starter and co-ace Max Scherzer, as leading first baseman Josh Bell hit that burgeoning two-run homer in the opposite field:

That 95 mph fastball from Scherzer caught too much midfield, and Bell didn’t miss. This homer left the bat at 107.8 mph and traveled 419 feet to deep left center. It must have been a huge moment for Bell, who has struggled a lot since arriving in Juan Soto’s blockbuster just before the trade deadline. With the Padres in the regular season, Bell reduced .192/.316/.271 with just three homers in 53 games. This follows 103 highly productive games with the Nationals. Perhaps more concerning is that Bell has seen its contract quality metrics drop significantly under San Diego’s watch.

Well, there were no such contact quality issues on the one above, and Bell is now the author of what could be the Padres’ biggest home run of the season so far.

Then a bunch of other Padres came to Scherzer

It wasn’t just Bell who took Scherzer’s court. So did Trent Grisham in the second and Jurickson Profar in the fifth. The next hitter after Profar, Manny Machado, became the fourth Padre to hit Scherzer in Game 1, and this one sent him to the showers:

At that point, Trevor May came on and Scherzer’s night was over: 4 2/3 IP, 7 H, 7 R, 4 SO, 0 BB, 4 HR. That works out to a 13.50 ERA for the game. It’s only the second time in his career, either in the playoffs or in the regular season, that he’s allowed at least seven runs and four home runs in a game. As for the playoffs themselves, there’s this:

The disastrous outing comes just after Scherzer struggled in a crucial start against the Braves – four runs on nine hits over 5 2/3 innings when the division title was on the line. not fully recovered from his oblique injury yet, maybe he suddenly feels like he’s 38, or maybe it’s just a short-term, cruel coincidence that can happen to anyone in baseball.

Scherzer is a three-time Cy Young winner and future Hall of Famer in the first round, but he hasn’t looked like anything recently.

Darvish was excellent

While Scherzer had a Game 1 to forget, the Padres’ Darvish had one to remember. His night job:

Darvish unbalanced Mets hitters with his usual dizzying array of offers — he threw five different pitches on Friday, headlined by his cutter. His speed ranged from 95.2 mph on a fastball to Francisco Lindor in the fifth to 66.9 mph on a curve to Eduardo Escobar in the same inning. Although his strikeout total wasn’t what it usually was, a hard touch eluded the Mets for much of the night. The only blemish came on a solo home run by Escobar. It should also be noted that Darvish’s seven innings of work meant a light night for the Padres’ bullpen, especially by playoff standards.

DeGrom then goes to New York

We already knew left-hander Blake Snell would start Game 2 for the Padres, but the Mets’ decision hinged on how Game 1 played out. If they won, the plan seemed to be to hold off ace Jacob deGrom in hopes that they could shut down the Padres in Game 2 and field deGrom for Game 1 of the NLDS. If they lost Game 1 to San Diego, then deGrom would start Game 2, which would be a playoff game for the Mets. Well, it’s the latter scenario, as you now know, that played out, and deGrom will indeed go Saturday against Snell and Padres. The Padres are now one win away from a matchup with the NL West rivals Dodgers in the NLDS.

Saturday’s Game 2 is scheduled to start at 7:37 p.m. ET.

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