‘ERA 4.85’ again, Verlander a free agent bust…No. 1 payroll team is No. 4 in the district, has lost six straight.

The New York Mets, Major League Baseball’s highest-paid team, have fallen to fourth in the division. Their highest-paid pitcher, Justin Verlander, 40, isn’t getting his money’s worth.

In his start against the Atlanta Braves on Sept. 9 (below), Verlander lasted just three innings, allowing five runs (four earned) on seven hits (one home run) with four walks and three strikeouts.

After giving up a two-run homer to Austin Riley in the top of the first inning, a combination of four hits and a fielding error led to three runs, and Verlander’s command was shaky in the third. After two walks loaded the bases with one out, Orlando Arcia singled up the middle to put runners on first and second, and Verlander was thrown out at home on back-to-back straight balls. In the third inning alone, he threw 35 pitches with four walks.

With a total of 82 pitches through three innings, he turned the mound over to reliever Steven Nogosek to start the fourth. His four-seam fastball average velocity (95 mph to 94.3 mph) is down 0.7 mph year-over-year, but his pitches aren’t listening. Even the pitches that did get hit were traveling a good course.

Verlander, who signed a two-year, $86.66 million contract with the Mets last December, making him the highest-paid player in baseball this year 스포츠토토 ($43.33 million) along with teammate pitcher Max Scherzer, began the season on the disabled list with a strained right arm muscle. He returned on May 5, a month after opening day, but has struggled, going 2-3 with a 4.85 ERA and 33 strikeouts in seven games (39 innings).

He has three quality starts, but the gap between good and bad is too wide. According to MLB.com, Verlander said, “I feel like I’m up and down. Every time I think I’ve found something, it goes the other way. It’s frustrating, not just for me, but for everybody.”

The Mets are 2-5 in the seven games that Verlander has started. The game went to extra innings, but reliever Tommy Hunter gave up a game-tying three-run homer to Yoenis Cespedes in a 10-13 loss. With a 10-9 lead in the top of the ninth, closer David Robertson gave up a tying solo home run to Arcia to blow his second blown save of the season.

After the game, Robertson said, “We’re frustrated. You can see it. We’re a good team and we’re not getting it done.” The Mets, who have lost six in a row, are now 30-33 and -3 in their last five games. The loss dropped them into a tie for fourth place in the National League East with the Philadelphia Phillies (30-32). We’re not even halfway through the season yet, but the disappointing performance has put a damper on their title as the highest-paid team in baseball.

With the full support of owner Steve Cohen, the Mets signed pitchers Verlander, Senga Godai (five years, $75 million), Jose Quintana (two years, $26 million), Adam Ottavino (two years, $14.5 million), David Robertson (one year, $10 million), and catcher Omar Narvaez (two years, $15 million) in free agency last winter. They also locked up reliever Edwin Diaz (five years, $120 million) and center fielder Brandon Nimmo (eight years, $162 million), who became free agents from within the organization.

The Mets’ total team payroll of $355 million this year is the most of any of the 30 major league clubs, but their overall winning percentage ranks 19th. In addition to Verlander, Diaz is out for the season after tearing his patellar tendon in a victory celebration at the WBC a season ago, and Quintana has yet to report for duty with a rib injury. Navaez was also limited to seven appearances with a calf injury.

Along with Verlander, Scherzer, the highest-paid pitcher at $43.33 million, has also struggled, going 5-2 with a 3.71 ERA in 10 games (53⅓ innings). Francisco Lindor, the $34.1 million-per-year slugging shortstop, is also underperforming for his money, batting just 2-for-22 with 11 homers, 42 RBIs and a .716 OPS in 63 games. Even Pete Alonso, who leads both leagues in home runs (22), was hit in the left wrist by a Charlie Morton pitch in Atlanta on Aug. 8, raising the possibility of a trip to the disabled list. It gets worse for the Mets.

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