Verlander won the American League Cy Young Award twice during his tenure in Houston in addition to anchoring World Series championship squads in 2017 and 2022. He signed with the Mets in December and will make his first appearance against the Astros in almost six years when he starts the second game of a three-game series on Tuesday
With the Mets, Verlander has supplied much of what he provided during his time in Houston
"Just a sense of accomplishment and presence," Mets manager Buck Showalter said. "Wisdom of been there and done that. Had some success and failure, and young pitchers really enjoy listening to him talk about pitching and showing his hunger for continuing to pitch at a high level
"They see why (it's) more than just stuff. They see the work he puts in before and after his starts to get ready for the next one. As much as anything, his drive to win. The guy is always searching for another level. He's chasing it. He's chasing perfection every day."
Verlander was bathed with warm applause while being presented with his championship ring prior to the Mets' 11-1 victory on Monday. He recognizes that things will be different Tuesday
"It'll be a little weird I think, but once you cross the white lines and you're out there competing, we're all professionals," Verlander said. "You turn it on."
Verlander (2-3, 4.40 ERA) allowed one run on three hits and struck out six over six innings in a no-decision against the New York Yankees on Wednesday. He is winless over his past four starts, going 0-1 with a 5.40 ERA.
In 102 career regular-season starts with Houston, Verlander went 61-19 with a 2.26 ERA. In nine career starts against the Astros, he is 5-0 with a 2.55 ERA, including a 2-0 record and a 3.65 ERA in six starts at Minute Maid Park
Verlander's last win over the Astros came with the Detroit Tigers on July 30, 2017, when he twirled six shutout innings while allowing five hits and three walks with six strikeouts in a 13-1 win. He was traded to Houston one month later
Framber Valdez (6-5, 2.27 ERA) has the starting assignment for the Astros on Tuesday
The left-hander allowed one run on five hits with six strikeouts over seven innings on Wednesday, notching his 11th quality start of the season, but did not factor into the decision against the Washington Nationals.
After posting four consecutive winning decisions, Valdez is 0-1 with a 3.00 ERA over his last two starts. He has a 2.02 ERA and 59 strikeouts against eight walks in nine home starts this season.
In his lone career start against the Mets, Valdez tossed eight shutout innings while allowing six hits and two walks with five strikeouts in a 9-1 road victory on June 28, 2022
Astros manager Dusty Baker lamented the challenge of facing Verlander and Mets right-hander Max Scherzer in consecutive starts, and his concern proved legitimate after Scherzer handcuffed Houston on Monday. Over eight innings, Scherzer allowed one run on four hits and one walk while recording eight strikeouts
"It was going to be tough facing him and Verlander back-to-back," Baker said. "We don't have a choice but to try and get Verlander (on Tuesday)."
--Field Level Media