John LeeESPNMay 16, 2023, 11:39 pm ETRead 4 minutes

Isaac Paredes catches Justin Verlander’s pitch twice to spoil his debut

Isaac Paredes went two yards from Justin Verlander to spoil his Citi Field debut and make it 6-0 Rays.

New York – When The Mets signed Justin Verlander, the reigning Cy Young Award winner who they expected to bring joy to the fans at Citi Field.

But his first look brought Bose down on Tuesday.

Verlander struggled for the first time in Queens in the third inning after recovering from a strain that delayed his start to the season. He allowed six runs on eight hits, including two homers, with three strikeouts and two walks over five innings as the Mets dropped an 8-5 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays. New York now sits at 20-23, a season-worst three games under .500, while Tampa Bay improved to 32-11.

“I understand the fans are upset, and so are we,” Verlander said. “We expect to be better. I expect to be better. I think this whole organization expects to be better, and there is only one thing left, and that is to keep your head down, work hard and try to get out of this failure.”

Mets manager Buck Showalter said the fans’ noise is in keeping with the current activity in the Mets’ clubhouse.

“People want to come out here and see the Mets win, they want to see us do well and they’re just as frustrated as we are,” Showalter said. “I understand that, but we dominate every night. They want us to do well. We dominate, they play better and that’s not going to happen. It’s part of playing here when you do something that’s very important to people.”

Verlander looked shaken Tuesday after looking sharp in his first two outings against the Mets.

The right-hander allowed a pair of runners in the first and second innings but emerged unscathed. The Rays pressed on again in the third, following a walk by Wander Franco that scored off first baseman Harold Ramirez. After a strikeout by Brandon Lowe and a pop-up by Randy Arrozarena, Verlander allowed his first homer of the night, hooking a breaking ball to Rays third baseman Isaac Paredes that lined the pitch into the left field seats to make it 3-0. .

The trouble piled up in the fourth when Verlander allowed a two-out single to Christian Betancourt before Ramirez’s two-out RBI single made it 4-0.

Paredes got Verlander back in the fifth with a two-run homer to left field on a 94 mph fastball that the Rays infielder hit again into the left field seats.

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

Verlander didn’t exactly say how he felt about Tuesday’s start.

“Like s–,” he said. “Not a lot of positives to take out of it. I guess the only positive thing is that I know I have some work to do. I started watching some video trying to find — I think there’s something a little off with my mechanics. I’ve got to fix it, and I’ve got to fix it fast.”

To top it all off, in the sixth inning, the new scoreboard at Citi Field was defaced, displaying a giant Rays logo across the screen, twisting the knife on a night when the Mets had a bit of hope.

With New York’s solo homer from third baseman Brett Baty, a two-run shot from first baseman Pete Alonso and a two-run, pinch-hit homer from Eduardo Escobar, the Mets still fell.

Verlander said he was surprised the Mets were three games under .500 in mid-May and in fourth place in the National League East, ahead of the Washington Nationals.

“There are teams that click at the right time and find their mojo and go from there,” Verlander said. “I think we’ve gone beyond just waiting for this to happen and I think we have to make it happen.”

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