After starting the season on the injured list, Justin Verlander has made two starts and is now set for his Citi Field debut on Tuesday against the best team in baseball in the Tampa Bay Rays.
The Rays bolster the best lineup in baseball through the first six weeks or so of the season, but Verlander looks to be in midseason form after a shoulder injury cost him a handful of starts. He's fresh off seven innings of one run baseball against the Reds and will look to get the slumping Mets on track at home after the team lost 10-3 in Washington to the Nationals on Monday.
The Rays will counter with left hander Jalen Beeks as an opener before the team likely hands the ball to Yonny Chirinos.
Here are the odds for Tuesday's matchup:
Rays vs. Mets odds, run line and total
Rays vs. Mets prediction and pick
Verlander was excellent against the Reds, and outside of back-to-back home runs in his first inning of the year against the Tigers, he has only allowed one earned run in 12 innings of work. He will face a stiff test in the Rays, who lead the big leagues in slugging percentage, but I'm going to side with Verlander to keep runs to a minimum as he still seems to be in Cy Young form on the mound.
The issue for New York will be at the plate. The team is struggling to string together hits over the past two weeks, hitting below league average (.243) and are walking at a sub-eight percent clip, which is 21st in Major League Baseball. Further, the team has scored 52 runs over its last 15 games. The offense simply isn't there for the Mets at the moment.
Chirinos has been rock solid for the Rays this season, yet to allow a home run through 24 innings. The Mets lack of pop in the lineup has been apparent outside of Pete Alonso and I expect Chirinos to cruise through this outing. Further, the Rays are top 10 in bullpen ERA this season, making me confident that this can be another tough night at the plate for the Amazin's.
I trust Verlander to give the Mets the cushion it needs, but I can't trust the Mets at the plate to pull it out. This leads me to the under on Tuesday.
Game odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.