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Mets hurler Justin Verlander was tasked with a few things at Citi Field on Sunday. He needed to right the ship for himself after a lackluster performance on Tuesday. JV was also trying to secure a doubleheader/series sweep of the Cleveland Guardians. Oh, and he had to do it against Shane Bieber under the bright lights of Sunday Night Baseball on ESPN.

The right-hander was more than up to the challenge and found a way to troll ESPN during Francisco Lindor’s postgame interview not once, but twice.

Verlander allowed a first-inning home run to Jose Ramirez, but that was it over the course of eight brilliant innings. He allowed that lone run on three hits, no walks, and five strikeouts. This was the longest outing from a Mets hurler so far in 2023, and he lowered his season-long ERA from 4.75 to 3.60 in the process.

After walking off on his former team Friday, Francisco Lindor was in the middle of it all again on Sunday night. His two hits (including a game-tying home run in the sixth) earned him the honors of chatting with ESPN in the immediate aftermath of New York’s fifth straight win.

But, Justin Verlander wasn’t having any of that smoke. Check out both of the below videos.

Maybe he just wanted to celebrate the win with his shortstop. Or, maybe they’re excited to get to Chicago for Monday’s off day before playing the Cubs (I mean, it’s not Cincinnati, so there’s that). But still, as if eight dominant innings didn’t already endear him more to the Mets fanbase, this definitely will.

ESPN, and more specifically, Sportscenter, was the soundtrack of my childhood. Tuning into the Worldwide Leader in the late 1990s and early 2000s was the golden era for that station. Nobody can convince me otherwise.

Times have obviously changed a great deal since then, so I only watch it when I have to now. And I’ve gotta say, while the broadcast itself was “eh”, all the extras that came with it were incredibly unnecessary. The in-game interview with Jeff McNeil was kinda boring. There was also no added benefit to Buster Olney chatting with Andres Gimenez, Lindor, Terry Francona, or Buck Showalter.

Like everyone else, I missed having some combination of Gary Cohen, Keith Hernandez, and Ron Darling in the booth. But let’s be honest — after a crazy week of baseball, Gare needs to rest those vocal cords.

You can reach Matt Musico at You can follow him on Twitter: @mmusico8.

Matt Musico is an editor for ESNY. He’s been writing about baseball and the Mets for the past decade. His work has been featured on numberFire, MetsMerized Online, Bleacher Report, and Yahoo! Sports.