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On Tuesday night, the Tampa Bay Rays will visit the New York Mets for the first game of a three-game interleague series. Despite the Mets being expected to be among the best teams in baseball this season, it is the Rays who enter this game with the best record in the majors entering Tuesday’s action. But the Mets have Justin Verlander on the mound for his third start of the season, which they hope will neutralize the Tampa Bay batting order.
The Tampa Bay Rays enter Tuesday’s play with a 31-11 record, the best in Major League Baseball. They have the league’s best record despite settling for a split in a four-game weekend series against the New York Yankees in their last series. Here, the Rays will look to start off on the right foot against another New York team, as they start this three-game set against the New York Mets.
In this game, the Rays are at a decided disadvantage on the mound, with Jalen Beeks starting things off. Beeks is 1-2 with a 5.40 ERA out of the bullpen for the Rays this year, though he has thrown 4.1 innings of scoreless ball combined across his last three outings. Either way, the Rays are going to be relying on their bullpen in this matchup, which could be dangerous against a Mets team that is competent offensively.
With the Rays on a bullpen day with their pitching staff, it will be up to the offense of Tampa Bay to carry them through this contest. Fortunately, Tampa Bay has been firing on all cylinders with their bats, scoring five or more runs in four straight contests against the Yankees going into this matchup. Tampa’s 260 runs as a team leads the league going into Tuesday, and they will hope to keep firing up crooked numbers against Justin Verlander and the rest of the Mets staff.
The New York Mets have been a disappointment to start the 2023 MLB season, coming into this game at 20-21. After all of the money that the franchise spent in the offseason, being below .500 and in fourth place is incredibly underwhelming. But the Mets have Justin Verlander back on the mound after he started the season on the IL, and they will hope that Verlander can deliver here against the best team in baseball.
So far this season, Verlander has been solid for the Mets, going 1-1 with a 2.25 ERA. In 12 innings of work so far this season, last year’s unanimous AL Cy Young award winner has given up three earned runs. He faces his toughest test of the season against the Rays lineup in this game, though, and it will be interesting to see how he performs against a team that has given so many pitchers trouble this season.
No matter how Verlander does in this game, though, it will be up to the Mets offense to outperform that of the Rays in this contest. The Mets have been very inconsistent from a run production standpoint of late, struggling to put runs on the board in recent games against struggling teams like the Nationals and Reds. Against the top offensive club in baseball today, the Mets have to be at or near their best offensively to pull out a victory.
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Jay Sanin is a sports bettor and writer from New York. He has been handicapping since the moment he was old enough to gamble legally, with his specialties being niche sports like the WNBA and XFL. He’s been told he has a voice for radio. He also has a face for radio.More info on Jay Sanin
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