Cardinals about to face biggest test of season with Max Scherzer, Mets

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Max Scherzer #31 of the Los Angeles Dodgers celebrates after beating the San Francisco Giants 2-1 in game 5 of the National League Division Series at Oracle Park on October 14, 2021 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Max Scherzer #31 of the Los Angeles Dodgers celebrates after beating the San Francisco Giants 2-1 in game 5 of the National League Division Series at Oracle Park on October 14, 2021 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) /
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The St. Louis Cardinals are about to face their biggest test of the regular season with Max Scherzer and the New York Mets.

The St. Louis Cardinals have had a relatively tame schedule to start the 2022 season. While they have faced the Milwaukee Brewers and their vaunted starting rotation, they have faced the Pittsburgh Pirates, Kansas City Royals, Miami Marlins and Cincinnati Reds. The result has been a 9-5 record and a spot atop the National League Central.

But with the New York Mets coming to St. Louis, the Cardinals face their first true test outside the division. The pitching matchups are as followed: Max Scherzer vs. Miles Mikolas; Chris Bassitt vs. Jordan Hicks; Carlos Carrasco vs. Steven Matz.

The Cardinals are clearly outmatched in the first two games, as Scherzer is going up against a pitcher in Mikolas who has thrown a combined 60 innings since 2019. He has established himself well in three starts in 2022, however, posting a 1.76 ERA and 13/3 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 15.1 innings. Bassitt, meanwhile, was the Mets’ second prized rotation addition and will go up against Hicks, who has made only one start, and is likely to go no more than three innings in a bullpen game.

The last game, meanwhile, provides a good test for Matz, the Cardinals’ biggest offseason addition. He will be facing his former team, who he almost signed with this offseason, spurring a flurry of angry tweets from Mets owner Steve Cohen. Alas, this is a pretty evenly matched pitching matchup, even if the numbers (Carrasco: 1.47 ERA, 20 strikeouts; Matz: 5.27 ERA, 17 strikeouts) suggest otherwise.

But the biggest test for the Cardinals is clearly Scherzer. The Hall of Famer looks dominant already, showing no signs of slowing down in his age-37 season, and will be a major challenge for a strong Cardinals lineup. But this is why they went out and acquired Nolan Arenado and Paul Goldschmidt. For these kinds of games and these kinds of matchups.

It’s likely a matchup that both players have had circled on their calendars since Opening Day. It should be must-watch TV and be the Cardinals’ first real test of the season – and while a loss wouldn’t be the end of the world, it would certainly be a tough way to start a grueling three-game series.

Next. Cardinals: Checking in on Matthew Liberatore after 4 Triple-A starts. dark

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