2 Mets to thank for beating the Rays, 1 to blame for failing to sweep

Tampa Bay Rays v New York Mets
Tampa Bay Rays v New York Mets / Sarah Stier/GettyImages
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Are the New York Mets back? After a thrilling win last night, the Mets kept the momentum and won a series against the best team in baseball, the Tampa Bay Rays.

The Mets hadn't won a series in nearly a month. Their last series win came on April 19th in Los Angeles. Since then, they faced an incredibly weak schedule and just couldn't buy wins.

Beating a Rays team that was 20 games over .500 would be no easy task. I would've been satisfied with this team gutting out a single win, but the Mets managed to take the series with two nail-biting victories. While winning this series is certainly huge, you can also ask yourself what if, as the Mets lost the start with their ace on the mound.

NY Mets to blame for failing to sweep: Justin Verlander

If there was one pitcher I could really trust right now, Justin Verlander was the guy. Kodai Senga has had his moments, Max Scherzer looked better his last time out, but Justin Verlander, outside of one inning in Detroit, looked really good in each of his first two starts as a New York Met. Most recently in Cincinnati, Verlander completed seven innings, allowing just a run on two hits in the lone Met victory in the Queen City.

Unfortunately for New York, Verlander could not keep up his momentum in the opening game of this series against the Rays. He looked shaky from the start, getting out of a jam in the first and stranding another runner in scoring position in the second. The Rays broke through against the reigning Cy Young Award winner in the third on the strength of an Isaac Paredes three-run homer to give Tampa Bay a 3-0 lead.

Verlander would allow another run in the fourth, and then a second Isaac Parades home run would extend the Tampa Bay lead to 6-0 in the fifth inning. Verlander was hearing audible boos during his home debut, as he struggled all night against this potent Rays offense.

Verlander would allow six runs in his five innings of work. With the way the Mets were swinging the bat, you knew that was a loss. The Mets did make it semi-interesting and ended up scoring five runs, but lost 8-5. It's one thing to not have your good stuff, it's another to be unable to keep your team in the game. As the ace of the staff, Verlander has to keep his team in every game he pitches in, even if he isn't throwing only zeroes.