The Mets lost to Atlanta, 12-5, on Tuesday after fill-in starter Jered Eickhoff allowed 10 runs, all earned, in 3 1⁄3 innings. He re-signed with them two days prior after being cut — for the second time in a month — last week.
Eickhoff became the sixth starting pitcher in franchise history to allow that many earned runs in a game, the first since Johan Santana on May 2, 2010. The others on that inglorious list: Orlando Hernandez, Al Leiter, Steve Trachsel, Pat Mahomes.
"I’m so frustrated I let these guys down," said Eickhoff, who played catch with a wall in his week away from the team. "You’re playing the Braves. Obviously, they’re right behind you, in the hunt for the division. So, it’s frustrating. It’s embarrassing, it’s frustrating."
Three days before the trade deadline, the state of the Mets’ rotation depth was such that their options were going back to Eickhoff or trying to get by with another bullpen game. It would have been their second in a row after they used six relievers in a seven-inning shutout in the finale of their Monday doubleheader against Atlanta.
The Mets (53-46) opted for Eickhoff, who has been through the transactional wringer in three stints with the team.
Since June 29, he has been designated for assignment, cleared waivers, elected to become a free agent instead of go to the minors, signed with the Mets a second time, been called back up, been designated for assignment again, cleared waivers again, elected to become a free agent again and signed with the Mets for a third time.
And so the Mets turned to him again against Atlanta (50-51). "Regardless of the circumstances, I feel like I have the stuff and ability to be able to navigate that," Eickhoff said. "I was not able to do that today."
Eickhoff hit his first batter with a pitch and walked the next two, loading the bases with nobody out. He managed to allow only Dansby Swanson’s two-run double — ripped into the leftfield corner — but later yielded a two-out, two-run homer to Ozzie Albies in the second and a two-out, two-run homer to Abraham Almonte in the third.
By the time Austin Riley smacked a fourth-inning grand slam, turning a potentially, theoretically competitive game into a laugher, the Mets’ bullpen started to stir. After the next hitter, Swanson, singled — hard, again, to center — manager Luis Rojas called on Yennsy Diaz.
Boos serenaded Eickhoff (8.69 ERA) on his way back to the dugout. Five of the seven hits against him were of the extra-base variety.
"He didn’t pitch the way that he can pitch," Rojas said.
It didn’t matter in the blowout, but the Mets had an above-average offensive night. Righthander Charlie Morton allowed three runs and five hits in five innings.
Jeff McNeil went 2-for-5 with a homer for his 100th career multi-hit game (out of 310 career games). Brandon Drury replaced Dominic Smith in a fourth-inning double switch and went 3-for-3 with a homer.
"When Mac is like this, you can’t throw him anything," Rojas said. "We’ve been waiting for him to get hot like he is right now."
This was the Mets’ last TBA pitching day for the foreseeable future. With Carlos Carrasco (torn right hamstring) set to make his team debut Friday, they are back to a five-man rotation, including Tylor Megill, Taijuan Walker, Marcus Stroman and Rich Hill.
When they can mix in Jacob deGrom (right forearm tightness) — not to mention a potential deadline addition — they might find themselves with more starters than rotation spots.
"Looking ahead, there’s no blank spots right now. There’s names on each day. There’s no TBDs," Rojas said. "It feels better that way."
Jerad Eickhoff is the seventh Met to allow 10 or more earned runs in a game, joining the following pitchers:
Johan Santana, 2010
Orlando Hernandez, 2006
Al Leiter, 2003
Steve Trachsel, 2001
Pat Mahomes, 2000
Calvin Schiraldi, 1985
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