Justin Verlander Jun 26, 2023; New York City, New York, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Justin Verlander (35) takes the field before a game against the Milwaukee Brewers at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

When Justin Verlander signed with the New York Mets, it was in pursuit of another World Series. Yes, the team offered him the exact same contract as Max Scherzer, which is tied for the highest Annual Average Value (AAV), but owner Steve Cohen’s commitment to spend as much money as possible to field a championship contender, resonated with the 40-year-old right-hander.

While Verlander has had an uneven showing for his new ballclub in his first 10 starts, he twirled five scoreless innings against the Milwaukee Brewers on Monday. It wasn’t enough, though, as the Mets needed more length for the reigning American League Cy Young Award winner, who exited Monday’s start after throwing 100 pitches in just five frames.

Verlander would be replaced by Drew Smith, who was rudely greeted in his return from a foreign substance suspension, with a two-run home run. The Mets would go on to lose 2-1, another loss for a reeling ballclub that fell to eight games under .500 for the first time in 2023. The team has now lost 16 of its last 21 games. And Verlander is having a hard time believing it.

“I don’t think anybody saw this coming,” said a shrugging Verlander. “It’s disappointing. It’s disappointing for everybody in this room, I know. It’s disappointing for the fans. We just gotta keep trying. If there’s one thing I know, the guys in this room are doing is trying their [butt’s] off. Every day we come to the park, myself, it’s trying to get better and figure out what’s off. And I know that most of the guys in this room are the same way. Hopefully, it clicks for everybody, but we gotta get going…soon.”

His comments were met with a lot of angst, especially those from Mets fans, who have been disappointed with his performance in Queens thus far.

Certainly, few people saw Verlander starting his Mets career with a 2-4 record in 10 starts and posting a 4.11 ERA, a season after being named the AL’s top pitcher. Yes, he suffered a teres major muscle strain, which caused him to miss this first month of the season, but since returning from the injured list, Verlander has looked like a shell of his former self. Perhaps that’s one of the reasons the Mets own one of the worst records in the National League. And while they were due for some regression after winning 101 games last season this current result is worse than the biggest pessimist could’ve predicted.

[Steve Gelbs on Twitter]

About Sam Neumann

Since the beginning of 2023, Sam has been a staff writer for Awful Announcing and The Comeback. A 2021 graduate of Temple University, Sam is a Charlotte native, who currently calls Greenville, South Carolina his home. He also has a love/hate relationship with the New York Mets and Jets.