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After nearly three hour delay, Mets drop series opener to Brewers

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Jacob deGrom wasn’t sharp in his return from the injured list.

Milwaukee Brewers v New York Mets Photo by Michael Owens/Getty Images

The Mets lost to the Brewers 10-2 on a rain-soaked night at Citi Field. Looking at the radar, many wondered whether they would get the game in at all, but shortly after 9:00 pm, the team announced that first pitch would be at 9:50 pm. Even though he is fresh off a short stint on the injured list, the Mets elected to pitch Jacob deGrom anyway, one of a few times his starts have been delayed by rain this year.

The results were not good for deGrom. The stuff looked very good in the first inning, when he worked around a four-pitch walk to Christian Yelich (who promptly stole second base) to strike out Yasmani Grandal and get Mike Moustakas to pop out to end the inning. He worked out of an even worse jam in the second inning, when it became clear that his location was off. He gave up a leadoff single to Ryan Braun, but then struck out Travis Shaw swinging. He then hit Eric Thames with a pitch and walked the eight hitter Orlando Arcia on four pitches. He was able to prevent the big inning with consecutive strikeouts of the pitcher Chase Anderson and Lorenzo Cain, but he was already over 40 pitches through two innings, a theme for Mets pitching this year.

Meanwhile, the Mets hit Anderson hard, but ended up with very little to show for it. Robinson Cano, who has continued to rake, smacked a double down the right field line in the first inning, but then Michael Conforto lined out hard right to the second baseman. Then in the bottom of the second, Todd Frazier launched a ball that was heading over the center field wall if not for a spectacular leaping grab by Cain.

The third inning is when things unraveled for deGrom, partially the result of his own ineffectiveness and partially the result of poor defense and unfortunate batted ball luck. The inning began with an infield single off the bat of Yelich, on which Cano made a great play, but couldn’t sling it over to first base in time to nab the speedy Yelich. Yelich then stole second again and for the second time in a row, Wilson Ramos unleashed a poor throw. Grandal then popped out to Rosario at shortstop, but Mike Moustakas ripped a bullet off the right field wall, scoring Yelich for the first run of the game. The ball was hit so hard that the carom off the wall limited Moustakas to a single. deGrom then hit Braun with a pitch, his second plunked batter of the night, a surefire sign that deGrom is not himself. He then issued a free pass to Travis Shaw to load the bases yet again, but this time he could not escape the big inning.

The key hit of the game was Eric Thames’ two-run double that put the Brewers ahead 3-0. He then gave up an RBI single to Arcia that snuck it’s way just past Rosario and through the drawn in infield that added to the damage and made the score 5-0. Just like in the second inning, he struck out Anderson—this time on a foul bunt for strike three—and Cain in succession to put an end to the inning, but the damage was done and the Mets would never even really threaten a comeback.

deGrom ended his night on a high note, tossing a 1-2-3 fourth inning that included a strikeout, his seventh of the night. deGrom continues to rack up the strikeouts, even when the results are poor, showing flashes of the pitcher he was last season, but he remains plagued by inconsistency and struggles locating his pitches. He left the game after 89 pitches, with the game feeling entirely out of reach.

The Mets did manage to scratch back a run in the bottom of the fourth inning, when Brandon Nimmo smacked a two-out double into the right field corner. Frazier then singled to drive in Nimmo and shrink the Mets’ deficit to four.

Corey Oswalt, fresh up from Triple-A, was unable to hold it there, however, and had his second poor relief outing in a row attempting to bail out a struggling starter. He gave up a one-out double to Shaw in the fifth inning that probably should have been a single if not for a funky hop that propelled the ball past Jeff McNeil in left field, still adjusting to his new position. Oswalt then walked Thames and a passed ball by Ramos advanced the runners to second and third. Ramos had another poor defensive game and is certainly beginning to look like a liability behind the plate. The Mets then opted to issue an intentional walk to the eight hitter Arcia and Anderson struck out swinging for the second out. But then Lorenzo Cain hit a bases-clearing double to make the score 8-1. Yelich followed with a single to add yet another run before Oswalt struck out Grandal to end the inning with another crooked number on the board for the Brewers.

The Mets scored their only other run of the night in the bottom of the fifth, thanks to a double from McNeil and an RBI single from Cano. After Cano’s single, Anderson walked Michael Conforto and surprisingly, Craig Counsell opted to remove his starter from the game just one out shy of qualifying for a win, despite the lopsided score. Matt Albers was called from the bullpen and retired Ramos on a groundout to short to end the inning.

Oswalt did follow his rough fifth inning with two straight 1-2-3 frames in the sixth and seventh, but the game was way beyond reach by then. Albers also logged a 1-2-3 sixth and then Jacob Barnes pitched a scoreless seventh, working around a McNeil double and a walk to Cano.

Luis Avilan surrendered an additional run in the eighth inning, the result of a Cain single and a Moustakas double, to make the score 10-2, which is where it would stay. Jake Petricka finished the game for the Brewers, logging two scoreless innings of relief. Daniel Zamora struck out the side for the Mets in the ninth.

The Mets look to redeem themselves in game two of this three-game set with Noah Syndergaard on the mound for his bobblehead night, facing off against Brandon Woodruff.

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What’s WPA?

Big winners: None
Big losers: Jacob deGrom, -31.55 WPA
Total pitcher WPA: -38.6% WPA
Total batter WPA: -11.4% WPA
Teh aw3s0mest play: deGrom gets Chase Anderson to strike out swinging with the bases loaded, +8.1% WPA
Teh sux0rest play: Eric Thames’ first run double, -14.7% WPA