Mets’ Justin Verlander chases history in start vs. Reds

Mets pitcher Justin Verlander walks off the field after pitching against the Tigers during the third inning at Comerica Park on Thursday, May 4, 2023.

Justin Verlander has accomplished a lot over a career that dates to 2005. He has won three Cy Young Awards, captured two World Series rings, been named league Most Valuable Player and defeated every major league team except one.

The right-handed ace will try to check off that last box Wednesday night when the New York Mets visit the Cincinnati Reds in the second game of a three-game series.

In two career starts against the Reds, Verlander is 0-1 with a 4.15 ERA. Verlander would become the 21st pitcher ever to record a win against all 30 teams with a win against Cincinnati. In Verlander’s last start against the Reds, he allowed four runs and six hits over seven innings and took the loss as Cincinnati beat the Houston Astros 4-3 on June 18, 2019.

Last Thursday in Detroit, Verlander made his Mets (and 2023) debut, allowing two runs and five hits over five innings. He walked one, struck out five and took the loss as New York fell 2-0 to the Tigers.

The Reds will counter on Wednesday with another hard-throwing right-hander, Hunter Greene (0-2, 3.74 ERA), who, like Verlander, also is searching for his first win of the season.

In his latest outing, Greene was staked to leads of 3-0 and 4-3 but allowed two runs in the sixth and was charged with the loss in a 5-4 setback to the Chicago White Sox on Friday.

Greene is set to make his second career appearance against the Mets. Last July 4 in Cincinnati, Greene allowed six runs and seven hits over 5 1/3 innings as New York beat the Reds 7-4.

The Mets had to scratch their other veteran ace on Tuesday when 38-year-old Max Scherzer experienced neck spasms.

Scherzer, who has been working through shoulder and back discomfort already this season, has a 2-2 record and a 5.56 ERA with 20 strikeouts and 10 walks in 22 2/3 innings over five starts.

“It’s easy to be frustrated about it, but at the end of the day it’s nothing I did,” Scherzer said. “It wasn’t like I was doing something stupid or something like that. I did my workouts and could feel it coming on and tried to get in front of it, but it didn’t.

“It blew up on me, so there is literally zero regret. There is no second-guessing on anything I have done. It just happened.

“The only thing that is frustrating about it is I haven’t pitched well this year. I want to get back out there and get on track and do it.”

The Reds made several moves to adjust their bullpen and pitching staff before the Tuesday game. Left-hander Reiver Sanmartin (left elbow stress reaction) was placed on 15-day injured list while right-handed starter Luis Cessa was designated for assignment.

Right-handers Kevin Herget and Ben Lively were promoted from Triple-A Louisville. Reds manager David Bell said Tuesday that Lively could start Thursday’s finale against the Mets after Nick Lodolo was pushed back two days due to a sore left calf.

Cessa was designated after posting a 9.00 ERA in seven games (six starts) this season. Those numbers included his roughest outing on April 16, when he allowed 11 runs and 14 hits over three-plus innings against the Philadelphia Phillies.

“I would imagine he will end up somewhere else, but for us, it was just more about making a change and looking to make any improvement we can,” Bell said of Cessa. “You saw the guys we added and we’re hoping they can help us win. They’re both pitching well. Ben Lively, in particular, has been pitching even better this year than he was last year in Triple-A.”

–Field Level Media

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