Justin Verlander trade Mandatory Credit: Rich Storry-USA TODAY Sports

Justin Verlander took it on the chin in his home debut Tuesday night at Citi Field, with the Rays tagging the Mets newcomer for six runs and eight hits over five listless innings.

The star pitcher is clearly still getting his sea legs under him after missing all of April due to a shoulder injury suffered in spring training.

Verlander has been unusually susceptible to the long ball this year, serving up a pair of home runs to Rays slugger Isaac Paredes.

The boo birds were out in full force, giving the three-time Cy Young winner an earful on his way off the mound in the fifth inning.

It’s hard to tell if that angst was directed at Verlander specifically or the team in general, though it’s clear fans are at their wits’ end,

The Mets’ slow start (20-23), has certainly irritated fans after another offseason spending spree bankrolled by Steve Cohen. With almost three-quarters of the season still to go, there’s no reason for the Mets to panic, though no one would deny they’ve underachieved.

New York would lose by an 8-5 final margin, sinking them to fourth in the NL East and 6.5 games out of first place. Signed to a two-year, $86.7-million contract (eclipsing teammate Max Scherzer as the highest-paid player in baseball), Verlander may not have gotten the welcome he was hoping for. Perhaps fans will be more hospitable in his next start, scheduled for Sunday against the Guardians.

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About Jesse Pantuosco

Jesse Pantuosco joined Awful Announcing as a contributing writer in May 2023. He’s also written for Audacy and NBC Sports. A graduate of Syracuse’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications with a master’s degree in creative writing from Fairfield University, Pantuosco has won three Fantasy Sports Writers Association Awards. He lives in West Hartford, Connecticut and never misses a Red Sox, Celtics or Patriots game.