The Mets activated Jacob deGrom from the injured list on Friday night and really, really wanted to see him pitch. Despite heavy rain at Citi Field and a long delay, the team started its scheduled 7:10 p.m. game with the Brewers at 9:52.
The raindrops still were falling lightly when deGrom took the mound in front of a few thousand soggy fans for his first start since April 14 and threw a 96-mph fastball that Milwaukee’s Lorenzo Cain fouled back.
The clouds eventually parted, but deGrom’s outing was a downer for the Mets.
The reigning National League Cy Young Award winner allowed five runs (all in the third inning) and five hits in four innings as the Brewers beat the Mets, 10-2. DeGrom (2-3) walked three, hit two batters and struck out seven.
DeGrom’s ERA, which was 0.00 after his first two starts, stands at 4.85 after three un-deGromlike performances.
DeGrom called his outing “terrible” — twice— and “embarrassing.”
“I wasn’t good,” he said. “I stunk.”
DeGrom had been on the injured list with right elbow soreness. He last pitched on April 14, when he allowed three runs in five innings in a 7-3 loss to the Braves.
After some hemming and hawing by the Mets about whether deGrom was going to get an MRI, he got one on Monday. He was cleared to return to the mound with a clean bill of elbow health.
“Arm feels great,” he said. “That’s what’s frustrating. I felt really good. I felt good warming up, felt good in the first inning, and then to go out and do that, that’s embarrassing.”
DeGrom walked Christian Yelich in a scoreless first inning. He allowed a single, hit a batter and walked a batter in the second but struck out the side to keep the game scoreless.
It all fell apart in the third. Yelich singled, stole second and scored on Mike Moustakas’ single off the rightfield fence for a 1-0 Brewers lead.
DeGrom then hit Ryan Braun with a pitch and walked Travis Shaw to load the bases. Eric Thames' two-run double into the rightfield corner made it 3-0.
With first base open and the pitcher on deck, manager Mickey Callaway brought the infield in and went after Orlando Arcia. The No. 8 batter grounded a two-run single past a diving Amed Rosario to make it 5-0.
“I just wasn’t able to make pitches when I needed to,” deGrom said. “That’s what this game is about. I did a terrible job out there tonight.”
DeGrom struck out the next two batters and was at 71 pitches after three. Callaway let him bat in the bottom of the third and deGrom finished with a 1-2-3 fourth, striking out Moustakas to end his night.
DeGrom said he has identified a mechanical flaw but has been unable to correct it.
“I think I’m just drifting down the mound,” he said. “My arm’s not catching up and you’re either going to yank it or sail it arm-side. That was kind of what happened tonight. I felt like I was good in the first inning, felt like I was good in the bullpen, and then for some reason just started speeding up.”
Todd Frazier singled in a run in the fourth to make it 5-1. Frazier had been robbed of a certain home run in the second by Cain, who scaled the fence in right-center to bring back his drive.
Corey Oswalt, who was recalled from Triple-A Syracuse before the game, replaced deGrom to start the fifth and allowed a three-run double to Cain and an RBI single to Yelich to put the Mets in a 9-1 hole.
To make room for deGrom and Oswalt, the Mets demoted infielder Luis Guillorme — making Frazier the backup shortstop — and sent righthander Jacob Rhame to Syracuse.
Rhame was suspended for two games on Thursday for throwing a pair of up-and-in pitches to Rhys Hoskins of the Phillies on Tuesday. In its decision, Major League Baseball said it gave Rhame “a two-game suspension and an undisclosed fine for intentionally throwing a pitch in the area of the head of Rhys Hoskins.”
Rhame is appealing the suspension, according to Callaway. Unless the appeal is successful, any suspension will have to be served if and when the bespectacled Rhame is recalled to the majors.
Rhame declined to speak with reporters before his demotion to Triple-A was announced by the club. He denied on Tuesday that he was throwing at Hoskins, although the Phillies thought he was. The next night, Hoskins hit a home run off Rhame and took more than 34 seconds to trot around the bases as a way to show his displeasure.
Callaway was displeased as well — with the suspension.
“It wasn’t intentional,” he said. “That was their decision . . . It is what it is. They felt like they had to do what they had to do and you have to live with it. That’s part of our game.”