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Mets make first trip to Detroit since 2016 for three against Tigers

The Mets will hope the scuffling Tigers can help turn their fortunes around.

MLB: Detroit Tigers at Baltimore Orioles Scott Taetsch-USA TODAY Sports

After a subpar homestand, the Mets (16-13) will head to Detroit for a three-game set against the Tigers (10-17). This will be the club’s first trip to The Motor City since 2016, when they dropped two of three. They last faced the Tigers in 2019 at Citi Field, when they took two of three. Overall, they’ve won 11 and lost 13 against Detroit all-time.

The Mets are coming off dropping two out of three games to the Braves over the weekend. Friday’s game only lasted five innings, which was enough for the Braves to pick up a 4-0 victory. It was a lopsided pitching matchup between Max Fried and David Peterson, but the game remained scoreless into the fifth as both hurlers traded zeroes. Atlanta ended up dropping four runs in the inning, punctuated by Matt Olson’s three-run shot that landed on the Shea Bridge. The Mets couldn’t break through in the bottom of the fifth, and the rain halted play soon thereafter, resulting in an Atlanta win.

After consecutive rainouts on Saturday and Sunday, the two clubs reconvened for a single-admissions doubleheader on Monday afternoon. The team started Denyi Reyes in Game 1, and it, predictably, did not go well, resulting in a 9-8 loss. Sean Murphy hit a three-run homer against him in the first, and Kevin Pillar added a two-run shot in the second before he was relieved by John Curtiss, who promptly surrendered a bomb to Ronald Acuña Jr. that landed in the third deck. The Mets, however, did not back down against Spencer Strider. They chipped away with a run in the first thanks to a Francisco Lindor single, and then pulled back to within two thanks to a Pete Alonso homer. Brett Baty drew the Mets to within a run with a solo homer to lead off the sixth, but Murphy’s second three-run homer of the game in the seventh put more distance in between the two clubs. The Mets chipped away with two more in the bottom half of the frame, but that was as close as they would get.

The Mets salvaged a doubleheader split and avoided a doubleheader sweep for the 25th consecutive twin bill with a 5-3 victory. New York jumped in front with a Daniel Vogelbach run-scoring double in the second, and doubled their lead with a Starling Marte single in the fifth. Atlanta jumped in front on Tylor Megill in the sixth with an Eddie Rosario bases-clearing double, but Francisco Álvarez’s two-out, two-run double in the bottom of the inning gave New York a lead they would not relinquish. Jeff McNeil added a homer for good measure, and David Robertson shut the door with two shutout innings to pick up the save.

The Mets will finally get Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander in the rotation together, just as they envisioned when they signed the latter to a lucrative two-year contract over the offseason, and not a moment too soon. The Mets come into play tonight with the third-worst ERA among NL staffs (5.21) and the second-worst FIP (5.85). Their starters are dead-last in the league with a -0.4 bWAR to go along with the worst BB/9 (4.71). Since April 20—the day Scherzer was suspended—the rotation has posted a league-worst 6.21 ERA and 5.93 FIP over these past ten games. Their 4.72 BB/9 is the worst over that span, while their 8.50 K/9 is fifth from the bottom. Unsurprisingly, their -0.2 bWAR is also last in the league.

Detroit comes into this series after dropping three of four to the Orioles over the weekend. They come into this series with a 10-17 record and reside in third place in the American League Central.

The Mets will have an opportunity to see old friend Javier Báez during this series for the first time since he left New York. He has struggled mightily since joining Detroit in 2022. So far this season, he is slashing .233/.286/.289 without a home run. He has posted a 63 wRC+ and has a 0.2 fWAR in 25 games. This comes after he hit .238/.278/.393 with 17 home runs, a 90 wRC+, and a 2.0 fWAR in 144 games last season.

This will also be Mets’ fans last chance to see future Hall of Famer Miguel Cabrera play baseball. In his last big league season, he is slashing .189/.232/.245 with a 33 wRC+ and a -0.5 fWAR in 56 plate appearances. Unfortunately, since the Tigers are not coming to New York, the Mets will not have the opportunity to award Cabrera a retirement present.

Tuesday, May 2: Joey Lucchesi vs. Michael Lorenzen, 6:40 p.m. on SNY

Lucchesi (2023): 12.1 IP, 12 K, 4 BB, 1 HR, 2.19 ERA, 3.47 FIP, 1.05 WHIP, 0.4 bWAR

Due to “weather concerns”, Lucchesi will move up to pitch on Tuesday on regular rest against Detroit, which will push the team’s two aces to Wednesday and Thursday. Lucchesi’s second start post-Tommy John wasn’t quite as scintillating as his first, but he was still really solid. He ended up allowing three earned runs on five hits over 5 13 innings, though two of those runs were inherited and allowed by Tommy Hunter. It seems like Lucchesi will remain in the rotation, though Carlos Carrasco may return the following week. Still, with the team looking to give Kodai Senga extra rest in between starts, they could go with a six-man rotation moving forward, which would allow room for Lucchesi.

Lorenzen (2023): 14.0 IP, 15 K, 5 BB, 3 HR, 7.07 ERA, 5.31 FIP, 1.64 WHIP, -0.3 bWAR

The Mets will face MLB’s less-heralded two-way player in the series opener. Lorenzen hasn’t actually hit since joining Detroit in 2021, instead primarily serving as a starting pitcher. After a perfectly cromulent 2022 (4.24 ERA, 4.31 FIP, 1.28 WHIP in 18 starts), he’s gotten off to a tough start. In his last start, he was tagged for five earned runs on seven hits, with five strikeouts and two walks over five innings against the Brewers. Prior to that, he managed to shut Baltimore out over five innings.

Wednesday, May 3: Max Scherzer vs. Joey Wentz, 6:40 p.m. on SNY

Scherzer (2023): 19.1 IP, 17 K, 9 BB, 4 HR, 3.72 ERA, 5.67 FIP, 1.19 WHIP, 0.4 bWAR

Scherzer’s ten-game suspension is finally over (after being delayed by a day due to this weekend’s postponements). The last time we saw the future Hall of Famer on the mound, he was getting tossed by Phil Cuzzi due to an illegal combination of sweat and rosin—the combo has since become a fashion statement and a rallying cry for the team, though they may want to consider focusing on hitting rather than fighting MLB’s rules. Scherzer is riding eight consecutive scoreless innings at least, having shut out the Dodgers for three innings his last time out after blanking the Padres for five in his previous outing. There is some added intrigue, as Scherzer is returning to Detroit, where he won the 2013 AL Cy Young Award. He has made three career starts against his old club, pitching to a 1.23 ERA with 39 strikeouts over 22 innings against the Tigers.

Wentz (2023): 22.1 IP, 20 K, 9 BB, 3 HR, 6.45 ERA, 4.55 FIP, 1.34 WHIP, -0.3 bWAR

Wentz made his major league debut for Detroit last year and posted a 3.03 ERA, a 3.54 FIP, and a 1.10 WHIP in seven starts. Things have not gone quite as well this year, as he owns a 6.45 ERA, a 4.55 FIP, and a 1.34 WHIP in five starts. His last start was one of his better ones, as he went 5 23 innings and allowed two earned runs on four hits, with six strikeouts and one walk against Baltimore. His last appearance (also against Baltimore) was not quite as good, as he was charged with five earned runs on six hits over four innings.

Thursday, May 4: Justin Verlander vs. Eduardo Rodriguez, 1:10 p.m. on SNY

Verlander (2022): 175.0 IP, 185 K, 29 BB, 12 HR, 1.75 ERA, 2.49 FIP, 0.83 WHIP, 0.4 bWAR

At long last, Verlander will make his Mets debut in the place that started it all. During his 13 years in Detroit, he won a Rookie of the Year award (2006), a Cy Young Award (2011), and an AL MVP Award (2011), and he established himself as one of the most dominant pitchers in the game before landing in Houston in 2017. Last year, he won his third AL Cy Young award, which is all the more impressive since it came in his first year after coming back from Tommy John Surgery. He led the AL in ERA (1.75), WHIP (0.83), H/9 (6.0) and wins (18), leaving no doubt that he was the best pitcher in the league. He also earned his ninth career All Star game nod, for good measure. He should hopefully help fortify a rotation that has felt rudderless this season.

Rodriguez (2023): 36.2 IP, 30 K, 7 BB, 4 HR, 2.21 ERA, 3.74 FIP, 0.87 WHIP, 1.3 bWAR

It’s still early, but Rodriguez is in line to post the best season of his career if he keeps this up. The left-hander has never finished with an ERA below 3.81, but currently has a 2.21 ERA over his six starts. He’s been on a roll over his last four starts specifically, allowing two earned runs on 16 hits ovet 26 23 innings after allowing seven earned runs over his first 10 innings. His most impressive outing was his start on April 18 against the Guardians, where he tossed eight shutout innings, scattered four hits and struck out ten while walking none.

Prediction: The Mets rebound to take two out of three against the Tigers.


How will the Mets fare in their three-game series against the Tigers?

This poll is closed

  • 35%
    The Mets pick up a Motor City sweep!
    (38 votes)
  • 50%
    The Mets take two of three to get back on track.
    (54 votes)
  • 1%
    The Mets lose another series as they drop two out of three.
    (2 votes)
  • 0%
    The Mets sink further as the Tigers sweep them away.
    (0 votes)
  • 12%
    (14 votes)
108 votes total Vote Now