Astros 5, Mets 4 & Nats 4, Mets 3: Mets Lose by One Run Twice Today

(Photo by Marc Serota/Getty Images)

The Mets played two split-squad games this afternoon, losing 4-3 to the Nationals at home and 5-4 to the Astros on the road .  One of the bigger stories from the day was that Carlos Beltran didn't play in either game as he's experiencing tendinitis in his left knee and will rest for a few days.

Astros 5, Mets 4
In the road game, Oliver Perez's line was: 3 IP, 3 ER, 2 BB, 1 K.  It could have been worse if not for a nice grab by Lucas Duda with two men on base in the third inning.  To top things off, Perez's velocity reportedly peaked at 88 mph.  Pat Misch gave up 1 run in 3 innings on a solo home run, Tim Byrdak pitched an inning in which he recorded a pickoff and a wild pitch but didn't allow a run, and Bobby Parnell pitched a clean 8th inning.

The Mets' bats were quiet throughout most of the game.  Jose Reyes was 0-for-2 but drew a walk and stole a base.  Brad Emaus went 1-for-3 at the plate but made an error with two outs in the fifth inning, allowing a run to score on the play.  Val Pascucci knocked in a run on a ground out and another on a single late in the game.  Duda picked up a pair of hits in the game, but overall, the Mets came up a run shy.

Nationals 4, Mets 3
Back home in Port St. Lucie, the Mets and Nationals went into extra innings.  Chris Capuano threw four innings, allowing two runs on a pair of solo dingers and recording 1 strikeout and 2 walks.  Taylor Buccholz pitched next for 1.1 innings. With two outs in the 5th, he walked 2 batters but got through the inning unscathed.  He got into trouble quickly in the 6th, giving up two singles and a sacrifice bunt to start the inning.  Michael O'Connor was brought in and bailed out Buccholz by striking out the only two batters he faced.  Jason Isringhausen allowed a solo home run and hit Jerry Hairston Jr. with a pitch, Taylor Tankersley struck out 2 in a scoreless inning, Blaine Boyer pitched a scoreless inning, and Dale Thayer allowed what would be the deciding run in the 10th.

At the plate, Cory Vaughn's game-tying 2-run home run in the 8th inning was a highlight.  Justin Turner and Daniel Murphy notably split time at second base during the game as they swapped positions to begin the 6th inning.  Murphy was on base for Vaughn's home run, having reached on a double.

Looking Ahead
In terms of the bigger picture, Oliver Perez never figured to make the team coming into spring training, and his outing today unsurprisingly didn't increase his chances.  Chris Capuano was decent in his start, and it's good to see that he threw four innings since he had only thrown one inning in a spring training game prior to today. 

The bullpen continued to pitch well, and Tankersley and O'Connor stood out for their respective 2-strikeout performances.  Jason Isringhausen's inning was far from ideal, but this was the first time he pitched on consecutive days in spring training.  His next appearance will be one to watch as the bullpen competition continues.

Luis Castillo didn't play today, and Daniel Murphy's double was probably the highlight amongst Castillo's competitors for the starting job at second base.  Last but not least, if Beltran's injury turns out to be more significant, there figures to be a competition for right field.  Scott Hairston, Willie Harris, Lucas Duda, Fernando Martinez, and Nick Evans might get a shot.

The Mets host the Astros tomorrow at 1:10 pm, and you can watch the game on SNY.

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