The only things to really ask Buck Showalter about these days are his team navigating their September schedule while trying to keep the Braves at bay and injury updates. Wednesday’s pregame press conference began with the former and the manager cautioned against using past performances as indications of the future.
“I wish you were able to predict things based on what happened on a given night,” he laughed. “The season can move quickly, then all of a sudden it inches by in September. It’s that way for a lot of teams. I think just about all the teams that are in first place, or close to it, would probably tell you the same thing. It’s always been my experience.”
The difference between having a good game and a bad game — and on a larger level, a good month and a bad month — can be miniscule in a sport like baseball. Showalter used two examples from the first inning of Tuesday’s game. Brandon Nimmo was hit by a ground ball, resulting in an out and Pete Alonso missed a two-run homer by mere inches.
“It’s such a fine line,” Showalter said before his team lost its third straight to the Cubs. “It’s not something that, if you score a lot of runs one night, then it means the next day that’s going to happen. It’s not that world. There’s too many variables. It’s going to be a challenge.”
Part of him likes the way things have played out, though. Showalter is very much an “enjoy the ride” type of person. The destination — in this case, the playoffs that FanGraphs gives the Mets a 100% chance of making — will still be there no matter how the journey goes.
“If it was so predictive it would be boring,” Showalter said. “Anybody who sits up here and smugly says, ‘This is going to happen, that’s going to happen,’ they lose me at hello. Don’t y’all hate it when they ask you to predict stuff?”
He does know that the season takes a huge toll on each player, no matter how well they or the team is playing. The Mets are well over 100 games into their season and with the repetitive nature of an MLB season, the manager says it inevitably wears people down.
“Mentally, they’ve been challenged this year,” Showalter acknowledged. “Football and basketball and hockey, they laugh at the number of games we play.”
While this September has gotten off to a rocky start, the skipper doesn’t think that has any real correlation to a team’s postseason performance. He does have a preferred way for the very beginning of a season to play out, though.
“I do know the ideal spring for me was always: start off really good, go down a little bit, then at the end you’re peaking back up,” he said. “Finish one game over .500, don’t win all your spring training games and don’t lose them all. Somewhere in between there is good.”
BIG LEAGUERS IN SYRACUSE
Now for the injury updates.
Max Scherzer pitched for Triple-A Syracuse on Wednesday night. The plan was for him to throw four innings, but he ended up only going 3.2 on 59 pitches. He struck out seven, walked one, and let up his only run on a solo homer. Showalter said before Scherzer’s start that the team is hopeful they’ll get him back on Monday when he’s eligible to return from the injured list.
Right-handed reliever Drew Smith is scheduled to throw back-to-back games for Syracuse on Friday and Saturday, then the club will make a decision regarding his MLB return. Smith (3.51 ERA in 41 innings this year) has been dealing with a strained lat in his pitching shoulder that’s kept him out of the big-league bullpen since July 24.
Tylor Megill (strained shoulder) is getting close, too. He only recorded two outs in his rehab outing on Tuesday while surrendering five earned runs, but the process is always more important than the results when it comes to rehab assignments. Everything from Showalter points to the team not being worried about Megill’s bad day against the Buffalo Bisons.
“Last time I talked to Billy [Eppler] earlier in the afternoon, he was going to pitch one more [rehab game],” Showalter said of Megill. “There’s some thought about him finishing an inning with two outs and then starting the next inning, trying to give him two ups. That’s the last hurdle.”
If it wasn’t abundantly clear, Showalter is not a person who partakes in most of the world’s modern digital trends.
“Somebody actually said to me the other day, ‘Did you read this thing on Twitter?’” Showalter described incredulously. “I think when I’m done, maybe I’m going to join that. Should I? Why should I? Will it enhance my life and I’ll enjoy my life more? What’s TikTok? Seriously, what’s the difference between TikTok and Twitter and FaceTime?”
He probably meant Facebook, but it’s hard to tell.
Source: Berkshire mont