Justin Verlander booed as the Mets fell in their first appearance at Citi Field

John LeeESPNMay 16, 2023, 11:39 p.m. ET4 minutes to read

Isaac Paredes takes Justin Verlander’s two-yard yard to spoil his first home run

Isaac Paredes goes into the yard twice off Justin Verlander to spoil his Citi Field debut and make it 6-0 Rays.

New York – when it was a file The Mets signed Justin Verlander, and they were expecting the Cy Young Award-winning quarterback to bring joy to the fans at Citi Field.

But his first impression on Tuesday was booed.

Verlander struggled in his Queen’s debut, his third outing since recovering from a major muscle strain that delayed his start for the season. He allowed six runs on eight hits, including two home runs, with three strikeouts and two walks across five innings pitched as the Mets dropped an 8-5 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays. New York now sits at 20-23, a season-worst three under . 500, while Tampa Bay improves to 32-11.

“I understand the fans are frustrated; we are frustrated, too,” said Verlander. “We expect to be better. I expect to be better. I think this whole organization expects to be better, and there’s only one thing you have to do, and that’s to keep your head down, work hard and find your way out of this slump.”

Mets manager Buck Showalter said the booing from fans is in keeping with the current atmosphere of the Mets club.

“People come here and they want to see the Mets win, they want to see us do a good job, and they get as frustrated as we do,” Showalter said. “I understand that, but we control it every night. They want us to do well. We control that. Play better and that’s not going to happen. That’s part of playing here when you’re doing something that’s very important to people.”

After looking sharp during his first two innings with the Mets, Verlander looked shaky on Tuesday.

The right-hander allowed a pair of base runners in the first and second innings but emerged unscathed. The Rays created pressure again in the third with a hit by first baseman Harold Ramirez followed by a walk by Wanderer Franco shortstop. After Brandon Lowe struck out and Randy Arzarena struck out, Verlander allowed his first home run of the night, hooking a ball to Rays third baseman Isaac Paredes, who immediately deposited the pitch into the left field bench to make it 3–0.

Problems piled up in the fourth when Verlander allowed a leadoff double to Christian Bethancourt, which led to Ramirez’s two-goal lead to make it 4-0.

Paredes got Verlander back in the fifth when he hit a pair of punt to go 94 mph inside fastball that the Rays player hit again into the left field benches.

It was Verlander’s worst start of the season after he allowed two runs in five innings in his season debut on May 4 against the Detroit Tigers and just one run in seven innings on Wednesday against the Cincinnati Reds. In his three starts this season, Verlander has a 4.76 ERA, allowing nine runs in 17 innings pitched.

Verlander didn’t mince words about how he felt about his start on Tuesday.

He said, “I like it.” “Not a lot of positive to take away. I think the only positive is I know I have some work to do. I’ve already started looking at some videos I’m trying to find – I think there’s a little something with my mechanic. I need to Fix it and I need to fix it quickly.”

To top it off, in the sixth inning, Citi Field’s new scoreboard malfunctioned, displaying a huge Rays logo across the entire screen, leading to a knife twist one evening when the Mets found little optimism.

While New York got the single scorer from third baseman Brett Batty, a two-run shot from first baseman Pete Alonso and a two-run homer from Eduardo Escobar, the Mets still fell short.

Verlander said he was surprised by the Mets’ lead with three games under . 500 in mid-May sitting fourth in the National League East, ahead only of the Washington Nationals.

“There are teams that click at the right time and find their mojo and go from there,” said Verlander. “I think we’re past the point of waiting for that to happen and I think we need to make that happen.”

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