MLB

Scherzer stars on return as Mets clinch first postseason berth since 2016, Astros secure AL West

By Sports Desk September 20, 2022

The New York Mets clinched their place in the MLB postseason for the first time since 2016 with Max Scherzer securing his 100th career win in a 7-2 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers on Monday.

The 38-year-old Mets right-hander, reinstated from the injured list, struck out nine across six innings where he threw 68 pitches. Scherzer was pulled after six innings with a perfect game intact, with the Mets opting not to risk injury to the three-time Cy Young Award winner on his return from an oblique issue.

The win means the Mets have booked a postseason berth, guaranteed at least a spot in the National League (NL) Wild Card Game, holding a 94-55 record.

Pete Alonso's three-run homer in the fourth inning headlined five runs against NL Cy Young Award winner Corbin Burnes.

The Mets will be making only their 10th postseason appearance in the franchise's 61-season history.

"This is what you play the game for," Scherzer said. "You play to get into the postseason. There's a lot of ways for it not to work out. For us to be able to find a way to get into the postseason, that's awesome. That's what we celebrate. That's what you play the game for.

"We have a lot of things in front of us. We understand that. But you got to celebrate the good times, too."

Astros clinch fifth AL West title in six years

The Houston Astros secured the American League West title for the first time in the past six seasons with a 4-0 win over the Tampa Bay Rays.

Jose Altuve's leadoff home run set the tone for the Astros, while Luis Garcia gave up two hits and four walks in five innings with four strikeouts as Houston claimed their 16th shutout.

The Astros also won for the eighth time in nine games ahead of their sixth straight postseason. Houston are assured of a first-round bye in the playoffs.

Kershaw dominates Diamondbacks

Clayton Kershaw tossed down 10 strikeouts as the Los Angeles Dodgers toppled the Arizona Diamondbacks 5-2.

The Dodgers, who have already clinched the NL West, saw Joey Gallo blast a second-inning homer, before Chris Taylor's three-run blast opened up a 5-0 lead.

But Kershaw grabbed the headlines, managing to strike out at least 10 batters with no walks in a game for the 27th time in his career.

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    Reynolds hit .262 with 27 home runs and 62 RBIs in 145 games last season and as a young, controllable player would be a very attractive piece for teams should the Pirates choose to deal him.

    "While it is disappointing, this will have zero impact on our decision-making this offseason or in the future," the team said Saturday in a statement.

    "Our goal is to improve the Pirates for 2023 and beyond. With three years until he hits free agency, Bryan remains a key member of our team. We look forward to him having a great season for the Pirates."

    The 27-year-old switch-hitter is set to earn $6.75 million this season in the second year of a two-year, $13 million arbitration extension. He is then under club control for two more seasons via arbitration before becoming eligible for free agency after the 2025 season.

    Reynolds experienced a dip in production last season after he was an NL All-Star in 2021, when he batted .314 with 24 homers and 90 RBIs. He also had a career-best .390 on-base percentage and eight triples, tied for the major league high.

    Pittsburgh finished 62-100 last season and is 211-335 for a .386 winning percentage in Reynolds’ four years with the team. The Pirates’ lead the majors in losses since the start of the 2019 season.

    The Pirates acquired Ji-Man Choi in a trade with Tampa Bay on November 10 and signed fellow first baseman Carlos Santana to a one-year, $6.75 million contract.

    Pirates general manager Ben Cherington said on Tuesday at the news conference for Santana's contract that the team wants to be better in 2023.

    ''We think we've got a group of young players that has a chance to help us get better and continue to get better and we'll try to add to that group in the way that makes the most sense,'' he said.

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    "We are thrilled that Jacob deGrom has decided to become a Texas Ranger," executive vice president and general manager Chris Young said in a statement.

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