Mets shutdown by Framber Valdez, Astros best Justin Verlander in a 4-2 win
The Mets had just five baserunners against Cy Young candidate Franmber Valdez on Tuesday
What’s Up with the Mets? ⚾️
The Astros evened their series against the Mets with a 4-2 win in Houston (box)
Justin Verlander started for the Mets and pitched well outside of one mistake to former teammate Alex Bregman, who clubbed a two-run home run against him in the third inning
Framber Valdez held the Mets in check with an eight inning masterpiece, allowing just two runs and not allowing a baserunner until the sixth inning
The Mets scattered just three singles around a Francisco Álvarez double
Jeff Brigham danced around a couple of walks in a scoreless eighth inning for the Mets
The Mets are now 5-12 in June and are hitting just .224/.298/.394 in those 17 games
News and Notes 📰
Francisco Álvarez is expected to get Wednesday’s game off
The Mets could look to simply upgrade their bullpen at the trade deadline, assuming they don’t sink further out of contention (New York Post)
Today’s Game 🗓
Match-up: Mets (34-39) at Astros (40-34)
Where: Minute Maid Park – Houston, TX
Starters: RHP Tylor Megill (6-4, 4.83 ERA) vs RHP Cristian Javier (7-1, 2.90 ERA)
When: 2:10 PM EDT
Where to Watch: SNY
One bad pitch for Justin Verlander, and that was basically that… ✍️
Tuesday’s game was certainly one of those that goes in the 1/3 of the season the Mets weren’t going to win. It was a night where Cy Young candidate Framber Valdez just totally stifled the Mets Jekyll and Hyde offense, and it was just a matter of who was going to get to Justin Verlander on a day he was making his return to the mound in Houston with the Mets.
On this day, it was Alex Bregman who delivered the deflating blow and pretty much knocked the Mets right out of the game.
Valdez was brilliant for Houston as he dominated the Mets with his filthy cutter and sinker. What else can you say? It is what Max Scherzer did to the Astros the night before. Valdez pitched a masterpiece and deserves a ton of credit for that performance.
As for Verlander, he pitched well outside of that one mistake to Bregman. He gave up a two-out run in the seventh which stung his ERA for sure, but it was important to see Verlander get through seven relatively strong innings and get this bullpen another day of meaningful rest, especially with the quick turnaround this afternoon in the rubber game of this series.
That’s not to say Verlander’s performance was stellar by any means. He was fine, but there is still work for him to do to round into the form the Mets badly need. He had a fastball-heavy approach last night and in large measure it worked, but he’s pitching to a lot of contact these days and against the Astros, that plays right into their strength.
The good news for Verlander is he still has elite movement on his curveball, so it will be interesting to see if he increases the usage of that pitch against the Phillies in his next start on Sunday. The fastball velocity is also there for him, so it’s not as if his stuff is really diminishing - it’s just a matter of Verlander finding that precision and improving the number of quality strikes he throws in each of his starts.
All-in-all though, I don’t think the line from last night is suggestive of how well he pitched. It was certainly a step in the right direction for Verlander despite the loss.
Of course, there are too many days like this where everyone is looking for glimmers of hope with this team. Yes, they were shutdown by Valdez and there are just days like that over the course of a season. But right now, with the Mets taking one step forward and two steps backwards with every junction point, it’s hard to really see the Mets pulling out of this hole. They’re 13 games behind the Braves now in the NL East and six games out of a wild card spot. It’s still early enough for the Mets to pull closer in the wild card race but that’s really a hard conversation to have when they’re closer to the bottom of the league than they are the top.
There’s A LOT wrong with this team, a lot of holes and no real fixes coming for them at this point. Sure, José Quintana may be back in a couple of weeks but it’s going to be a process to get him going at full strength and it’s not as if he’s a savior, either. And I do think upgrading the bullpen next month can help, but if the starting rotation continues to be ineffective, there really isn’t much of a point in doing that, right?
But, this was the risk the Mets took when making such a heavy investment into aging starting pitchers, marginally upgraded their bullpen without properly evaluating risk and bringing back the same group of hitters under the assumption they would simply perform the way they did for 130 games last year, and not the final 35 games they played to end the season.
Who would’ve thought any of this in April?
Around the League 🚩
The Reds won their 10th game in a row, defeating the Rockies 8-6 at Great American Ballpark
Joc Pederson walked off the Padres with a bases loaded walk, giving the Giants their 9th win in a row
Gerrit Cole played stopper for the Yankees on the mound, ending their losing streak with a 3-1 win over the Mariners in the Bronx
Clayton Kershaw fired seven shutout innings as the Dodgers blanked the Angels 2-0
The Orioles blew a 6-0 lead to the Rays, but they rallied and prevailed with an 8-6 win in St. Petersburg