Mets vs. Rays: 3 predictions for a series against MLB's best team
The New York Mets begin a series against the best team in MLB, the Tampa Bay Rays, at the team's worst moment. The Mets have had a terrible performance this past few weeks, falling to fourth place in the NL East standings.
The Tampa Bay Rays, for their part, have been showing enormous collective power, something that had not been evident in this team in 2021. The Mets, on the other hand, represent one of the worst offenses in the league, which looks like a series dominated by the Rays but not everything is like that.
1) Mets ace, Justin Verlander, is going to silence the best offense in MLB
Justin Verlander will have his most important start after missing nearly a month and fear due to injury. To date, Verlander has an ERA of 2.25, with an excellent WHIP of 0.83 and 12 strikeouts in 12 innings pitched.
The Tamba Bay Rays are the strongest opponent for a pitcher this season. The team is number one in barrel% and ranks top 5 in hard-hit contact and exit velocity. This has made Tampa the team with the most home runs and RBIs this year.
Verlander has been an experienced pitcher against teams with great offensive capabilities. Against the Rays, he has faced different team hitters in the past to who he has limited power contact, generating a sub-.330 xSLG.
One positive aspect for Verlander is that the Rays haven't been very effective this year against breaking pitches like the Curveballs. Players like Randy Arozarena, Wander Franco, and Taylor Walls, find themselves with negative results regarding the curves, according to Fangraphs statistics.
Likewise, while the team collectively has been hitting well against the slider, the most important players within the Rays' lineup are also generating negative results. This is relevant since the slider, which Verlander uses 35%, the opposition hits just .077.
Verlander has the biggest test for the first time in a Mets uniform. A quality outing against the Tampa Bay Rays could be a big statement for Verlander and the Mets team at a time of need for positive results and optimism.