New York Mets staring pitcher Justin Verlander became the avatar of all the team’s issues on Tuesday when he gave up six runs in five innings to the Tampa Bay Rays. The fans, unhappy to see their supposed ace getting knocked around by the best team in baseball, booed him off the mound after completing the fifth inning.
Verlander, who signed a two-year, $86 million deal with the Mets over the offseason, had spent most of the season on the injured list prior to last week. Shortly before first pitch on Opening Day, the 40-year-old Verlander went on the IL with a low-grade shoulder strain and didn’t make his first start for the Mets until May 4. He’s been up and down in his three starts, having thrown seven innings of two-hit, one-run ball against the Cincinnati Reds just six days before his disastrous start on Tuesday.
Verlander’s bad start is just the latest Mets issue that has cropped up in May. The pitching has been atrocious, with a 5.47 ERA in the last 14 days, third-worst in all of MLB. (Overall on the season Mets starting pitchers have a 5.46 ERA.) And with a .236/.297/.360 team triple slash over the last two weeks, their bats have gone silent.
The Mets aren’t too far gone — in the National League East they’re only five games back of the Atlanta Braves, who seemingly have no weaknesses — but they’re 5-11 in May and 20-23 on the season. They have to plug the leak in the boat soon or they’ll go under before the race has really started
Mets call up 3B prospect
With the Mets in the middle of a rough time (in just the second month of the season), they’ve decided to call up a little help. According ESPN’s Jeff Passan, they’re calling up third base prospect Mark Vientos to help jumpstart their offense.
The New York Mets are calling up slugger Mark Vientos, sources tell ESPN. Vientos, 23, is hitting .333/.416/.688 with 13 home runs in 38 games at AAA this season, and as the Mets look to escape this dreadful start, they’ll turn to Vientos as part of the solution.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) May 17, 2023
Vientos, 23, has been hitting the cover off the ball with the Triple-A Syracuse Mets this season. But he’s been hitting well for longer than just 38 games. In 150 Triple-A games, he’s hit .294/.376/.566 with 29 doubles, 40 home runs, and 113 RBI.
Does calling up Vientos in mid-May feel like a panic move for the Mets? Absolutely. But it doesn’t look like there’s much more for Vientos to do in Syracuse, so might as well call him up and see if he can help this flailing team.