ADVERTISEMENT

Back with Max Scherzer, Justin Verlander would love nothing more than to win a World Series with the Mets

ADVERTISEMENT

Queens – Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer are back together again at Queens nearly nine years after the latter left the Detroit Tigers after the 2014 season to sign with the Washington Nationals.

ADVERTISEMENT

In some ways, things haven’t changed much. Both right-handed players remain among the best starting pitchers in Major League Baseball heading into the 2023 season when they are expected to tie the Mets towards the playoffs.

But a lot has also changed.

“Looking back…at that time two guys were trying to get their foothold in the game,” said Verlander. Thursday After his introductory press conference at Citi Field. “You look forward now, nearly a decade later, and I think we’re both in a great place professionally and know ourselves better and are mature men with families.

“To be able to have that perspective can only help this situation and move forward in this new organization together.”

Verlander, 39, and Scherzer, 38, are still among the first and second punchers in baseball, just as they were in Detroit. Scherzer went 82-35 with a 3.52 ERA (3.02 in his last two years with the team), and won the 2013 AL Cy Young Award as a Tiger from 2010-2014. He provided a dynamic complement to Verlander, who went 91-43 with a 3.05 ERA from 2009-2014, which was the high point of his 13-year tenure with the organization. This included AL Cy Young and 2011 MVP honors after going 24-5 with a 2.40 ERA and 250 strikeouts.

They helped the Tigers make the playoffs four times in a row from 2011-2014 which marked the 2012 AL pennant. They were swept by the San Francisco Giants in the World Series.

“Two great shooters. I wish we were able to win everything back then,” said Verlander.

While there are some regrets, there is no sense of incomplete work, at least at the end of Verlander.

“The way I see it is, it’s a chapter in my life that I’ll never be able to go back to,” he said. “We had the talent, and we found ourselves on the doorstep a few times and couldn’t get through the door. However, the longer I played this game, the more I realized that talent isn’t everything.

“Playoffs are a dirty game… There’s a bit of regret I guess, you could say we weren’t able to do it, but the longer I play this game the more I realize it’s the way it happens. You can’t take anything for granted.”

ADVERTISEMENT
Max Scherzer. (AP Photo/Brett Davis)

Verlander has won two rings with the Houston Astros, most recently in November, and is on his way to winning his third Cy Young Award. Scherzer had one of his own with the Nationals in 2019 when they didn’t beat the Astros in Verlander.

On a much smaller scale, there is still some competition between the two despite both wearing blue and orange.

“I hope we get to get each other out and take the ball every five or six days and go all year long and have a great healthy competition,” said Verlander. “That’s perfect. The one thing we probably learned is that healthy competition is great.”

Health is a key word in more than one of the dead. Verlander will be 40 and Scherzer 39 – and with injury issues over the past three years for both of them, there is certainly a lot of hope that they can be invested in shooters in the later stages of their careers.

But Verlander called out adaptability when talking about his longevity in the game and though a World Series win that would normally have put a good dent on the lives of many other players at 39, the Virginia native wants more.

“What harm it would be for myself and my family, what a bad example for my daughter if I gave all this work in my whole life – since I was five years old…. Why would I spend so much time, effort, sacrifice and sell myself short in the end?” Verlander said. “It’s like running a marathon and standing a mile from the finish line… Why would you do that?”

Now, he has a chance to write his next chapter in Queens with a familiar at his side.

“We both love nothing more than to see each other achieve incredible success and win World Series titles with the Mets,” said Verlander.

For more information on Justin Verlander and the Mets, visit AMNY.com

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
%d bloggers like this: