Too little too late as Justin Verlander, Mets get battered again
The Mets are three games under .500 for the first time with Buck Showalter as the club's manager as the starting rotation continues to flounder
What’s Up with the Mets? ⚾️
The Mets staged a late rally but were otherwise walloped by the Rays 8-5 at Citi Field on Tuesday (Box)
Justin Verlander made his 2023 Citi Field debut and got crushed for six runs and eight hits in five innings - his ERA is 4.76 for the year
The Mets did hit three home runs - Brett Baty broke the Mets 56-inning home run drought in the fifth, Pete Alonso hit a two-run home run in the seventh, and Eduardo Escobar homered in the ninth
Roster Moves 🗞️
LHP David Peterson optioned to Triple-A Syracuse
LHP Josh Walker selected from Triple-A Syracuse
RHP Seth Elledge claimed off waivers by Detroit Tigers
Injury Updates 🏥
Jimmy Yacabonis (quad strain) began a minor league rehab assignment on Tuesday
Today’s Game 🗓
Match-up: Rays (32-11) vs. Mets (20-23)
Where: Citi Field - Flushing, New York
Starters: LHP Josh Fleming (0-0, 4.26 ERA) vs RHP Kodai Senga (4-2, 4.14 ERA)
When: 7:10 PM EDT
Where to Watch: SNY
Another number to talk about…✍🏼
I started yesterday’s newsletter off with a number, a number which generally characterized the state of the Mets pitching staff heading into play against the Rays on Tuesday.
I am going to do the same thing today, only this number is a little more targeted than yesterday’s.
That is the number of innings Mets starting pitchers are averaging per game.
And, it really sums up the story for each and every one of them.
On Tuesday, Justin Verlander beat that average ever so slightly, giving the Mets five innings of mostly ineffective ball against a Rays team that pretty much bled him to death out there. He labored early, worked far too many deep counts as the Rays kept fouling off one pitch after the next until they got Verlander to put them on a tee, at which point they simply crushed him.
Isaac Paredes got the party started for Tampa Bay with a three-run home run in the third inning, and that was more or less that for the Mets although it got a lot worse from there for Verlander. Paredes got to Verlander again, this time for a two-run home run in the fifth. By the time Verlander was done, it was 6-0 after five and his Citi Field debut was ruined in what has really become a typical game for the Mets, in that they’re consistently behind by multiple runs early.
Verlander - and pretty much anyone wearing a Mets uniform yesterday - was booed off the field routinely for their lackluster performance.
Of course, I am not one who believes booing the home team is particularly helpful or productive, but aside from not showing up or going on WFAN to air it all out, it’s the only way for fans to express their displeasure with the club face-to-face.
So, I totally get it.
During last night’s telecast, Mets broadcaster Gary Cohen described the ongoings with the rotation and their inability to pitch deep into games, “unsustainable.” To be fair, that was the case a month ago - they’re well past the point of unsustainable, as evidenced by the fact they continue to not do that and have become pretty uncompetitive in these games as a result.
Now, this isn’t meant to excuse their offense in any way. Their offense stinks, they’ve gotten nothing from their DH, catcher, third basemen, and corner outfielders. Francisco Lindor and Jeff McNeil have generally underperformed, nobody hits for power except for Pete Alonso (although, last night they get a pass for the three largely insignificant home runs they hit against the Rays). But at the same time, it’s incredibly difficult for any team to have to climb out of three, four, five or even larger holes on a daily basis.
The mentality of an offense is unquestionably different than that of a closer game or a game when the pitching is sound.
Even so, the Mets are back to their classically dysfunctional state where health is always a question, and people up and down the roster are underperforming. The Mets can try and outthink this problem, apply mathematical equations and attempt to translate a path upward all they want.
But the game isn’t played in Calculus 101.
The Mets are what the record says they are and, as I always say, the club is as smart as the record indicates. What’s worse, there’s no help on the immediate horizon. If Verlander is even slightly less than great and Max Scherzer can’t find his footing, the club is simply dead in the water and it doesn’t matter if the offense turns it around or not.
They will never be able to outhit that 4.8 problem.
Around the League 🚩
Jorge Soler hit a two-run, walk-off home run to help the Marlins defeat the Nationals 5-4 and get to .500 for the year
Adolis García homered and Dane Dunning lowered his ERA to 1.69 for the year as the Rangers defeated the Braves 7-4 in Arlington
The A’s finally got to the double-digit win mark as they defeated the Diamondbacks 9-8
Bailey Ober led the way for the Twins in a 5-1 win over the Dodgers - he allowed just a run over six innings and lowered his season ERA to 1.78
Domingo German was ejected for a sticky substance violation, but Aaron Judge homered again as the Yankees beat the Blue Jays 6-3 in Toronto