New York Mets ace Max Scherzer will not make his scheduled start on Tuesday night against the Cincinnati Reds because of neck spasms, the team announced. Scherzer was not placed on the injured list, but the Mets did move right-handed reliever Jimmy Yacabonis to the shelf as a means of creating space for lefty David Peterson. Peterson, it should be noted, will receive the nod on Tuesday night against the Reds in Scherzer's place.
"It's easy to be frustrated by it, but at the end of the day, there's nothing I did. It wasn't like I'm doing something stupid or something like that," Scherzer told reporters on Tuesday. He added that he expects to be out for a "couple of days" recovering from the neck spasms, which he first experienced upon waking up on Monday. Scherzer's next turn in the rotation is currently scheduled for Sunday against the Washington Nationals. His status for then will presumably remain unclear until closer to the weekend.
Scherzer, 38, has had an eventful, if not particularly successful, season to date. In five starts, he's amassed a 5.56 ERA (76 ERA+) and a 2.00 strikeout-to-walk ratio. He's made one start since serving a 10-game suspension for violating Major League Baseball's policy on grip-enhancing substances. It didn't go well. Rather, Scherzer surrendered six runs on eight hits over the course of 3 1/3 innings versus the Detroit Tigers in what was supposed to be a triumphant return to an old haunt.
Scherzer has recently discussed that he's been dealing with soreness "south" of his scapula, or shoulder blade.
"Just don't break," Scherzer told the New York Post. "I'm trying like hell not to join the IL. I'm fighting through this and doing everything I can. But this is the big leagues and no one cares if you're hurt. You've got to go out there and perform, so I get it."
It's perhaps worth noting that this isn't the first time Scherzer has been scratched from a start because of neck spasms. He had to miss a scheduled World Series appearance in 2019, then as a member of the Nationals.
Peterson, for his part, was supposed to start for New York's Triple-A affiliate in Syracuse, but the Mets scratched him from that outing earlier Tuesday. Peterson has already started six times for the big-league club this season, compiling a 7.34 ERA (58 ERA+) and a 3.60 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 30 2/3 innings pitched.
The Mets enter Tuesday with a disappointing 17-18 record on the season, putting them seven games behind the Atlanta Braves in the National League East. Arguably the Mets' biggest problem has been keeping their rotation hearty and hale: Scherzer, Justin Verlander, José Quintana, Kodai Senga, and Carlos Carrasco -- their expected rotation -- have combined to start just 15 of the team's first 35 games.