The Mets just can’t find any semblance of a rhythm when it comes to winning baseball games. After losing two of three at home to the disappointing St. Louis Cardinals, Max Scherzer tossed eight brilliant innings in a win over the Astros on Monday. Surely, Justin Verlander would follow suit like the co-ace the Mets want him to be, right?
Unfortunately, that didn’t happen. He provided New York with some length by going seven innings, which was good. But it was accompanied by four earned runs in a 4-2 loss against his former club. This was the continuation of what’s been an ultra-frustrating pattern from the 2022 AL Cy Young winner.
Since his second start of the year, Verlander is firmly on a one-good-start-one-disappointing-start pattern. Here’s a quick peek at it:
- 5/10 vs. Reds: 7 innings, 1 earned run, 2 hits, 2 walks, 7 strikeouts
- 5/16 vs. Rays: 5 innings, 6 earned runs, 8 hits, 2 walks, 3 strikeouts
- 5/21 vs. Guardians: 8 innings, 1 earned run, 3 hits, no walks, 5 strikeouts
- 5/27 vs. Rockies: 5 innings, 6 earned runs, 9 hits, 1 walk, 2 strikeouts
- 6/2 vs. Blue Jays: 6 innings, 1 earned run, 5 hits, 3 walks, 8 strikeouts
- 6/8 vs. Braves: 3 innings, 5 runs (4 earned), 7 hits, 4 walks, 3 strikeouts
- 6/14 vs. Yankees: 6 innings, 1 earned run, 3 hits, no walks, six strikeouts
- 6/20 vs. Astros: 7 innings, 4 earned runs, 8 hits, no walks, 5 strikeouts
There are some positives to glean from his last couple of starts. After allowing seven walks between his appearances against Atlanta and Toronto, he hasn’t allowed any in his last 13 innings.
But still, it’s hard to ignore the fact that Verlander has alternated allowing one run in an appearance with four-plus in his next. I don’t think anyone was expecting him to replicate the 1.75 ERA he posted last year for Houston in 175 innings. Nobody was thinking it’d be up at 4.50 through nine starts, though.
JV’s strikeout rate is down, his walk rate is up, and he’s allowing home runs at a much higher frequency than last year. The right-hander surrendered just 12 dingers in 2022, but that number is already up at eight this season.
If the Mets are going to climb out of the hole they’ve dug for themselves over the past couple of months, it’ll be because the starting rotation becomes more consistent. The offense has had its troubles, but the pitching staff hasn’t performed up to expectation. And that starts with Scherzer and Verlander.
Scherzer has shown a smidge more consistency than JV has over the past few weeks, but his returning to form won’t do much if Verlander can’t do the same. It’s not like people are asking him to toss eight innings of one-run ball every time he takes the mound. Somewhere a little closer to his 3.26 lifetime ERA would be good, though.