“Verlander Set to Make Mets Debut at Comerica Park” by guest writer, Kyle Hoyt
In a 24-hour span, Tigers fans will see two former Cy Young winners in action at Comerica Park. On Wednesday, Max Scherzer led the way for the New York Mets against Detroit in the second game of a double header. The Tigers would sweep the day, capping it off with an 8-1 victory over the once great Tiger pitcher. However, the bigger headline is what will follow Thursday afternoon.
Mets Verlander Debut in Detroit
Justin Verlander is set to make his Mets debut on May 4th in Comerica Park. Verlander landed himself on the injured list just before the season kicked off due to a muscle strain near his shoulder. Due to the injury, his 2023 campaign will begin with his new team returning to the place where it all began.
Verlander is coming into year 18, and since his season debut is taking place in Detroit, why not take a stroll down memory lane. Verlander would begin his hall of fame career with the Tigers in 2005, after being the 2nd overall pick the year prior. In his 13 seasons with Detroit, Verlander went on to accomplish many feats both for himself and the Tigers organization.
Justin Verlander earned many awards in his days at Comerica Park including rookie of the year, a Cy Young and an AL MVP. He is still the last AL player to earn both an MVP award and Cy Young in the same season. However, what he will forever be remembered for is helping the Tigers return to the world series in 2006, an accomplishment the team had not seen since 1984. He was the starting pitcher in game one, and although they lost the game and eventually the series, there was a sense that Detroit baseball was back.
Tigers’ Failure as a Team
Unfortunately, it would take the Tigers and Verlander another five seasons to return to the post season. However, the 2011 season became a special one. Justin Verlander would win his first Cy Young award, which also landed him the AL MVP. The Tigers returned to the playoffs and found themselves in the AL Championship against the Rangers. The season would end there losing the series 2-4, but this was only the beginning. In 2012, the Tigers made consecutive post season trips, something they had not done since the 1934 and 1935 seasons. Not only did they make consecutive post season trips, but they would also find their way back to the world series.
Verlander opened the series for the Tigers with a 3-8 loss in a series where they went on to get swept. The Tigers would again make the postseason the next two years, making it four consecutive seasons of playoff baseball in Detroit, unfortunately falling short in all of them.
After the 2014 season which has become the last year of playoff baseball in Detroit, Verlander would eventually be traded in 2017 to the Houston Astros, where he became a two-time world series champion while picking up two more Cy Young awards and cementing his legacy.
A Fresh Start in New York
Fast forward to 2023 and Justin Verlander is now preparing for his New York Mets debut in the place he once called home. A place where he began a hall of fame career, becoming one of the greatest pitchers of this generation. Today, as Detroit Tigers fans, we look to honor him and the historic career he has had. Even though he will walk in with a Mets jersey on, Justin Verlander is a Tiger for life and will always have a place to call home at Comerica Park.
Article written by Woodward Sports guest writer, Kyle Hoyt
Photo Credit: © Rick Osentoski -USA TODAY Sports
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