Pa Disha Tosar
Posted by FOX Sports MLB

NEW YORK — Nothing to embellish: The Metz do not meet with the moment. Again.

Max Scherzer flopped when the Mets needed him most, both last weekend in Atlanta and Friday vs. San Diego. The Mets offense failed to capitalize early on when they had a chance against the dominant right-hander Yu Darvish.

Big fans, a field with a postseason logo, a jazzy atmosphere – the stage was set in Queens. But this wasn’t a playoff-ready team.

The Mets lost to the Padres. 7-1 in Game 1 of the Wild-Card Series on Friday at Citi Field.

Scherzer disappointed for the second straight outing and was booed from the mound in a stunning scene when he was pulled in the fifth. The veteran and future Hall of Famer — who was paid $43 million a year by the Mets for this moment: to shut down opposing lineups in the playoffs — allowed seven earned runs in just 4⅔ innings. All seven runs came as the Padres hit four home runs off Scherzer.

Scherzer is now the second pitcher Major League Baseball history to allow four home runs and seven earned runs in any postseason game. The second one was Cincinnati Reds pitcher Gene Thompson in Game 3 of the 1939 World Series vs Yankees.

Yurikson Prafar, Manny Machado, Josh Bell and Trent Grisham everyone took Scherzer deep early in the streak. Bell’s two-run shot silenced the Citi Field crowd in the first inning, and the Mets trailed the Padres before Darvish threw his first pitch. A 2-0 deficit might have been manageable for the Amazin’s, but then came the home run Scherzer allowed to San Diego’s power-prone No. 8 hitter. Grisham’s 94 mph fastball was right up the middle, and the Padres outfielder pounced on him for a solo shot to center.

Scherzer retired the next seven batters in a row before allowing two more home runs, including a three-run dinger to Profar in his fifth and final inning. Coupled with his last outing of the regular season – when the Mets lost the second of three games vs Brave last weekend — Scherzer allowed 11 earned runs, six home runs and 16 hits in 10⅓ innings.

With two important games in front of him, Scherzer had two of his worst games with the Mets. That’s not what Mets general manager Billy Eppler had in mind when he convinced the team’s owner, billionaire Steve Cohen, to pay Scherzer $130 million over three years.

The Mets offense was just as uninspiring on Friday. They threatened to attack Darvish early with an aggressive base stealing plan. Franziska Lindor was hit by a pitch in the first inning and promptly stole second base. He reached third place on a Jeff McNeil single, but Pete Alonso and Daniel Fogelbach could not cash it.

The same thing happened in the second innings when Starling Marte led off the frame with one in the center. He stole second and third, but Darvish was retired Mark Canha, Eduardo Escobar and Tomáš Nido plant Marte 90 feet from home.

New York went 1 for 9 with runners in scoring position and left six men on base. In addition Eduardo EscobarA solo home run by Darvish in the fifth inning, the Mets had just two extra hits all night.

What began as an opportunity to get a fresh start for the weary fans ended with the home crowd rushing to the exits by the bottom of the seventh inning. The DJ the Mets hired to station next to the Shea Bridge in center field didn’t read the room. The Mets were down 3-0 when he started playing Queen’s “We Are The Champions.” The crowd — passionate but practical fans — responded with a few half-hearted claps, but it was mostly stunned faces and silence.

No one was in the mood for the DJ’s attempts to raise the energy. Only the Mets could do that.

A day before his first playoff start for this team, Scherzer talked about his attitude toward the exit. He really wanted to get out, and he understood that everything was at stake. It’s the playoffs, he said. Now is not the time to mess around. It’s win or go home.

Well, just like that, the 101-win Mets are less than 24 hours away from blowing up and playing what could be their final game of the year. Saturday afternoon Blake Snell will be on the mound for the Padres.

The Mets said they would wait for the results of Game 1 to announce the starter for Game 2, suggesting that Jacob deGrom would take the mound if the Mets lost. Now he must try to save his team’s season.

Disha Tosar is an MLB writer for FOX Sports. She previously covered the Mets for the New York Daily News. Follow her on Twitter at @Disha Tosar.

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