Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander provide the doubleheader dominance that the Mets need


New York Mets pitcher Justin Verlander (35) walks to the dugout midway through the seventh inning against the Cleveland Guardians at Citi Field.

the mets The Kids needed to spark a lethargic offense and get their season back on track. But ultimately they’ll need dominance from aging Cy Young award winners to have a real shot at the championship in 2023, and as such Sunday was a day when anything suddenly seemed possible again at Citi Field.

Max Scherzer And Justin Verlander.

Yes, they sure seemed worth the big bucks back in the day, as they delivered Split doubleheader sweeps the Cleveland Guardiansallowing only one run between them over 14 innings.

Verlander summed up the importance of this when asked if this was the kind of 1-2 strikeout he envisioned when he signed with the Mets.

“I mean, yes,” Verlander told reporters. “We all know what Max can do and I hope I get a great success. That’s the way you paint it, on a day like this.”

There’s still a long way to go until October, of course, for both the 38-year-old Scherzer, whose early-season performance has been dampened by injuries, and the 40-year-old Verlander, who missed the first month with a shoulder problem.

But, yeah, that’s exactly why Steve Cohen They are paid a combined $86 million this season.

And for now, that’s enough as the doubleheader sweep gives the Mets a five-game winning streak that looks like it changed everything about their season.

It was just last Tuesday, remember, that Verlander W The Mets were vigorously booed by the Citi Field crowd He was sick and tired of underperforming baseball from a team that wasn’t hitting, wasn’t pitching, and It seemed like he wasn’t going anywhere.

Now, suddenly, the Mets can’t afford to lose. They own the late innings and look like a team that once again believes they will find a way to win, even on a night like Sunday when Shane Pepper He’d hold them out for five rounds and make it look easy.

like Francisco Lindor he said after winning 2-1 He finished the sweep, “Now we’re on a high note. It was a great week.”

The recovery started five days ago with big runs by the rookies, Mark Ventus And Francisco AlvarezAnd Brett Patti He does his part as well. then Alonso House I got hot. And now Lindor is finding his left swing, getting the Mets on the board against Pepper with a sixth-run home run to center field.

Then Alvarez, a young catcher, played a lead again, with his leadoff leadoff single in the eighth inning. From there, Lindor got a little lucky with the single Check Swing and Jeff McNeil He threw the game-winning run with a gutsy batter, placing his bat on a nasty slider and making enough contact to produce a sacrifice fly to left.

Earlier in the day, more belated magic: hardly ever Adam Ottavino And David Robertson Combined to blow out 3-0 off Starling Martwho seemed lost at the plate for most of this season, is gone Deep to right in the bottom of the eighthone at-bat after Patty drew a first walk.

Simply put, this feels like a different team now. Children are a big part of it. An offense that hasn’t been able to get a clutch hit for weeks now makes it seem routine, especially in late innings when it matters most.

“A good hit becomes contagious,” said Lindor. “Guys relax and stop trying to do so much. Me included.”

Perhaps the same applies to promotion. Kodai Singa And Taylor Miguel Both are well harmedand when the Mets beat a weak return to rotation from injury by Carlos Carrasco on Friday nightthe stage is set for Scherzer and Verlander this weekend.

The reason for their encampment on the same day was to rain, of course, but in a sense that only added to the plot.

First, Scherzer pitched a six innings shutout While he was jumping, he cut his thumb He said it caused pain and low speed in his fastball, forcing him to rely mostly on the off-fast object, his curveball and changeup.

Were it not for the thumb problem, he probably would have dug deeper into the game, but, in any case, it was a great second straight start, providing reason to believe that his early season ineffectiveness was due to the back/shoulder injury he was pitching. during.

Then there was Verlander as the starter of the season for the Mets. Not only did he pitch a three-hit gem, but he gave them much needed height with their fuming Ashes, becoming their first pitcher to pitch to eight innings this season.

Verlander said he was aware that the Mets were weak in the pen in game two. That and the knowledge that the Guardians are a contact-hitting team who don’t hit a lot of home runs but also don’t hit a lot dictates their game plan.

He said, “I decided to attack the strike area and see where it took me.”

He struck out eight innings in 98 pitches, and while he didn’t have a big strikeout day, three of his five K’s came from the sixth inning as he got stronger and broke a few terrifying curveballs.

If he were 10 years younger, he would no doubt have knocked out Guardians himself after the offense broke a 1-1 tie in the bottom of the eighth.

But the Mets will take this version of Verlander and be happy about it. Same for Scherzer. Yes, this is indeed the way they painted it.


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