It certainly felt like a Monday at CitiField, with both teams struggling to get into gear after a weekend that I'm sure was long for both of them. R.A. Dickey limited the Nats to one Ryan Zimmerman single over the first four innings, but the Mets could only manage a Nick Evans single and Jason Bay walk over the same span against Ross Detwiler, a lefty they touched up for six runs in three innings just 10 days ago. It was hard to tell if this was a case of pitchers being on top of their game or the hitters being off theirs. In either case, the early going went by quickly, yet still had the dragging feel of your average Steve Trachsel start. (Remember those? Ugh.)
Dickey found his first spot of trouble in the top of the fifth, when Jayson Werth led things off with a double. Rick Ankiel next hit a grounder toward short that Jose Reyes tossed to third, hoping to throw out Werth, but David Wright (whose fielding has been especially putrid lately) inexplicably dropped the throw, putting runners on the corners with nobody out. Dickey responded with a strikeout of Chris Marrero, but then ceded an RBI single to Wilson Ramos. A Detwiler sac bunt and strikeout of Brian Bixler minimized the damage, but the Nats were up 1-0.
Dickey struck out the side in the top of the sixth to bring his K total up to seven. Unfortunately, the strikeouts sandwiched a trio of singles by Zimmerman, Werth, and Ankiel that expanded Washington's lead to 2-0. Meanwhile, Detwiler set down the Mets in order in the fifth, got the first two outs in the sixth, and appeared to be cruising.
Out of nowhere, Detwiler's control and luck deserted him. Justin Turner worked a full count, then walked. Then, he fell behind Lucas Duda before walking him as well. Wright partially atoned for his error by lining Detwiler's first pitch into center field for an RBI single, and Angel Pagan dropped a ball just fair down the right field line for a game-tying double. Just like that, Detwiler's night was over. Todd Coffey struck out Jason Bay to keep the game tied.
The Nats attempted to come right back when Wilson Ramos led off the top of the seventh with a bloop single to left. He moved to second on a wild pitch and to third on a sac bunt, but when he attempted to score on a Brian Bixler grounder to short, Ramos was caught in a rundown and tagged out. Unfortunately, Bixler was able to move to second during the rundown, which allowed him to score when Stephen Lombardozzi hit a single, his first major league hit. Would that it had waited for another day.
For once, the Mets bullpen managed to not make things worse, as Josh Stinson and Daniel Herrera combined for a scoreless top of the eighth and DJ Corrasco and Tim Byrdak did the same in the ninth. Alas, Tyler Clippard retired the Mets in order in the seventh and eight, barely breaking a sweat in the effort. Wright managed to get the first Met baserunner against the Nats' bullpen when he walked on four pitches to open the bottom of the ninth. Despite the fact that Moneyball ads were seen all over CitiField this weekend, Terry Collins asked Pagan to bunt Wright into scoring position, but no one came close to driving him in. Bay was struck out looking on a nasty slider, and Nick Evans popped up the first pitch he saw to put the Mets out of their misery.
Thus the Mets lost their third game in a row, and the once modest goal of reaching .500 seems more and more pipe dreamy with each passing day. Oh, and Reyes went 0-for-4 to fall behind Ryan Braun in the NL batting race (.329 to Braun's .331). There haven't been too many times when I thought the Mets were simply playing out the string, but much of this weekend and tonight's game definitely had a "punch in, punch out" feel to it. Losing is acceptable, but some effort would be nice.
Big winners: David Wright, +24.1%, Angel Pagan, +13.8%
Big losers: Jason Bay, -23.5%, Nick Evans, -17.9%
Teh aw3s0mest play: Angel Pagan RBI double, +21.3%
Teh sux0rest play: Stephen Lombardozzi RBI single, top of the seventh, -18.9%
Total pitcher WPA: -9.9%
Total batter WPA: -40.1%
GWRBI!: Stephen Lombardozzi RBI single, top of the seventh
Nice job by MetsFan4Decades; her effort in the game thread embiggens us all.
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