Mets: There’s No Time To Lose For Verlander And Scherzer – Reflections On Baseball

Mets Aces: Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander

The Mets paid good money for two future Hall of Famers. These aging stars must earn their keep now – when the team needs them most.

For Mets owner Steve Cohen, spending $100 million for the 2023 season on two (future) Hall of Famers barely made a dent in his deep pockets. After losing Jacob deGrom, Marcus Stroman, and Chris Bassitt to free agency, the Mets needed him to step up, and he did.

Mets signings create a buzz for 2023
Mets signings create a buzz for 2023

Securing the services of Justin Verlander ($44.3 million) and Max Scherzer ($60.3 million) to head the Mets rotation created a buzz in New York and throughout all of baseball.

Leading off a series for the Mets back-to-back with two of the best pitchers in baseball was a heady prospect for the upcoming 2023 season, even though Verlander is 40 and Scherzer will turn 39 in July.

Beyond the headlines, though, the real question was whether they would last another marathon baseball season, making at least 30 starts each for the Mets, and how many of those would be quality starts (six or more innings allowing three or fewer runs)?

Mets Tread Water Without Their Aces

Alas, with one month of the season in the books, the duo of Scherzer and Verlander has made four starts for the Mets. Naysayers quickly say, “We told ya so,” while Mets fans can only wonder if their 16-13 record would be any different today if both pitchers had made their full complement of starts.

Whatever the case may be, it’s all history now, and a new page is turned this week when the Mets travel to Detroit to face the woeful Tigers for three games, with Scherzer making the start tonight while Verlander throws his first pitch for the Mets on Thursday.

Make no mistake; the time is now for Verlander and Scherzer to come to the forefront – pitching well and allowing the Mets to win the games they start.

Mets Have A Chance To Pile It On

Looking ahead, the Mets’ schedule allows the team to romp through three-game sets against Colorado and Cincinnati, followed by Washington for four games before real competition arrives at Citi Field again when the Tampa Bay Rays come in for a three-game series.

Mets will rise and fall with Scherzer and Verlander
Mets will rise and fall with Scherzer and Verlander

With Verlander and Scherzer (hopefully) on board for the rest of the season, the rotation will balance out with Tylor Megill, Kodai Senga, and Joey Lucchesi.

Megill (3-1, 4.11) has pitched well, and his team has won four of the six games he has started. But durability is a cause for concern as Megill has yet to pitch even 100 innings in a season.

Senga has also fared well over five starts (3-1, 4.15), but he’s still in the middle of a learning curve learning to adjust to pitching every fifth day as opposed to once a week in Japan, as well as adapting to a higher mound and the pitch clock. His devastating split-finger pitch is also a work in progress against major league hitters.

Lucchesi remains a relative unknown, and he is returning from not pitching at all in 2022 due to injury. He is making only his third start for the Mets today and is 1-0 with a 2.19 ERA.

The Crux Of The Matter Is Verlander And Scherzer

But the crux of the matter is Verlander and Scherzer, and the Mets will stand or fall based on their performance.

Over the years, when the Mets have won, they’ve done it with pitching, and especially starting pitching. In the Mets’ championship season, the 1986 rotation of Rick Aguilera, Ron Darling, Sid Fernandez, Dwight Gooden, and Bob Ojeda was as ideal as anyone could build.

In 1969, another banner year for the Mets, Tom Seaver (25-7, 2.21) and Jerry Koosman (17-9, 2.28) spearheaded the staff, along with hard-throwing rookie Gary Gentry and Nolan Ryan.

Forty-two wins between the tandem of Seaver and Koosman carried the Mets to a World Series title, and for the money they are being paid, the same is expected from Scherzer and Verlander.

For the Mets, there is no room for error if they can catch the Atlanta Braves, and both Scherzer and Verlander must show up every fifth day – and win!

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Author: stevecontursi

I am an amateur writer with a passion for baseball and all things Yankees and Mets.