Aces Low: The Mets are doomed if this is what they get from Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander

New York Mets v Cincinnati Reds
New York Mets v Cincinnati Reds / Dylan Buell/GettyImages

The New York Mets have presented a general inconsistency in every facet of the game. The offense has had its ups and downs, and the bullpen has many unknowns, but the rotation has been the biggest headache.

Jose Quintana's injury aside and Justin Verlander's early season injury, the Mets have had their starters most of the year. Despite this, the rotation ranks as one of the worst in the league after being projected as a top 3 earlier this year.

The Mets rotation is suffering from the inconsistency of its star duo

The rotation has had its flaws, with even Kodai Senga presenting serious inconsistencies between releases. However, this was a result that could be expected.

What was not expected was that a hall-of-fame duo like Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer would be showing such a poor level. The Mets risked a lot of money on a safety bet on two aces that were coming off seasons of great dominance and have not been able to translate this in Queens.

Verlander missed part of the year through injury, and his return was expected to have more dominance with a fully rested arm. The result has been his lowest level of K% of his career and the highest hard-hit contact allowed since 2020.

Verlander's fastball and curve are hitting more easily than last year. However, the profile of his pitches does not seem to have changed significantly, nor has the speed of his pitches.

Max Scherzer is in a similar situation to Verlander but for different reasons. His K% is also the lowest of his career, and the hard-hit contact allowed is higher.

However, the pitch that is causing the most damage is the slider. As we saw in his recent outing against the Yankees, his slider is being connected with strength, allowing 50% hard-hit contact between all the pitches in that outing.

Looking back, last year Scherzer's slider was hitting .183 with a slugging percentage of just .232. This 2023, this pitch is producing a batting average above .300 and a terrible slugging above .600.

Although the pitches that are causing the most damage to both pitchers are different, the causes are the same. The location of both is consistently failing, which has caused the low result shown to date.

The Mets can start winning games, competing, and buying this trade deadline, and none of it will matter if their co-aces can't figure out how to locate their pitches like they have in the past. The Mets season hangs in the balance and is in the hands of Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer.