Monday, December 5, 2022

Jake Who? Mets Waste No Time Finding His Replacement, Justin Verlander


Justin Verlander, when he was with the Houston Astros, pitching to the Mets' Pete Alonso at Citi Field on June 29. Photo by Jason Schott.

Just three days after the Mets said goodbye to their longtime ace, Jacob deGrom, the Amazin's found his replacement, reigning American League Cy Young Award winner and World Series champion Justin Verlander.

The contract that sealed the deal is for two years and $86 million, a massive statement by the Mets that this upcoming season they are going for it, looking to finish the job they started this past season, in which they won 101 games.

It also reunites Verlander with his old Detroit Tigers teammate, Max Scherzer, at the top of the Mets rotation. They led Detroit to the 2012 World Series and enjoyed success in the playoffs, as they took the Tigers there four years in a row (2011-14) and knocked out the Yankees twice, in the 2011 ALDS and 2012 ALCS.

Verlander has 244 wins and three Cy Youngs (2011, 2019, 2021) in his illustrious career, with a 2,24 ERA and 3,198 strikeouts. 

This past season, with the Houston Astros, Verlander went 18-4 with a 1.75 ERA, with 185 strikeouts in 175 innings pitched, and a WHIP (walks and hits per innings pitched) of just 0.667, as he allowed just 116 hits and walked 29. This Cy Young-winning season came after Verlander missed the 2021 season after he had Tommy John surgery.

The postseason was a mixed bag for Verlander. He got a no-decision in his Game 1 start in the American League Division Series against the Seattle Mariners, as he allowed six runs (all earned) on 10 hits and a walk, with just three strikeouts in a game Houston went on to win 8-7 and then sweep the series. He then won his start against the Yankees in the first game of the American League Championship Series, as he threw six innings, and allowed just one run (earned) on three hits and one walk, with 11 strikeouts in a 4-2 Astros win as they began their sweep.

In the World Series against Philadelphia, he coughed up a 5-0 lead in a 6-5, 10-inning Game 1 loss, as he allowed five runs (all earned) on six hits and two walks, with five strikeouts.

Verlander would get his redemption in the fifth game, as he earned his first career World Series win, as he allowed one run (earned) on four hits and four walks, with six strikeouts as Houston won, 3-2, before clinching their second championship in six seasons in the next game. Verlander was also a member of that 2017 World Series winner.

Overall, in the postseason in his career, he has appeared in 35 games (34 starts) and he has a 16-11 record with a 3.64 ERA, and has thrown 207.2 innings, with 230 strikeouts, and 87 runs (84 earned) on 163 hits and 68 walks.

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