Stephen Strasburg impressed in his Citi Field debut, combining with three Nationals relievers to shut the Mets out in a 4-0 win. Johan Santana also pitched well, but received little support from his offense, defense, and bullpen. Mets pitchers walked ten batters -- three by Santana, seven by four relievers -- including two with the bases loaded. Mets batters struck out fifteen times. This was an ugly game.
Both starting pitchers racked up strikeouts -- nine in six innings for Strasburg, eight in five innings for Santana -- but only Santana gave up a run. He threw a wild pitch past Josh Thole in the second inning, which allowed Mark DeRosa to score from third base. Thole was also charged with a passed ball later in the game and had an overall subpar day behind the plate. Santana exited in the sixth after walking Jayson Werth to start the inning, having thrown 99 pitches, including 27 in the first inning and 26 in the second. Terry Collins probably should have pinch hit for Santana in the bottom of the fifth with Ronny Cedeno on first base and one out, considering the Nats' pitcher and Santana's pitch count (he was already at 93 pitches by that point). Regardless, it was a nice start for Santana, who touched 90 mph with his fastball and sat around 88 mph.
The Mets' bullpen issued a whole lotta walks. Manny Acosta relieved Santana and walked three in his 1.1 innings pitched. Ramon Ramirez pitched in with two walks, while Miguel Batista and Tim Byrdak added one each. Both Ramirez and Byrdak walked in a run. The Mets' bullpen entered the game with a 1.59 ERA and 2.67 FIP so it's tough to be too worked up about the poor performance in this game.
It looked like the Mets would get to Strasburg in the first inning, as Ruben Tejada led off with a single and Daniel Murphy followed with a walk. But the heart of the order -- Lucas Duda, Ike Davis, and Jason Bay -- failed to come through, a consistent theme of the day. The trio combined to go 1-for-10 with a walk. Ike finally picked up his first hit of the season, a single off Strasburg in the sixth inning which put runners on first and second (Duda had walked) with one out for Bay. But home plate umpire Larry Vanover did the struggling Bay no favors by calling this strike two on a 1-1 count:
"That's not a strike" -- Ron Darling. This was called strike three two pitches later:
"He's had a bad day" -- Ron Darling on Vanover. Both pitches went over the lefthanded batter's box. Bay was not pleased about the bad calls, justifiably, and Terry Collins was ejected in the seventh inning for arguing balls and strikes. The Mets offense went quietly into the afternoon in the final three innings.
The Mets are off on Thursday and head to Philadelphia on Friday for a three game series with the universally loathed Phillies. The pitching matchups for the weekend are as follows:
Big winners: Johan Santana +9.1% (as pitcher), Manny Acosta +5.2%
Big losers: Jason Bay -15.6%, Ramon Ramirez -12.3%
Teh aw3s0mest play: Xavier Nady line-out double play in the sixth inning +16.1%
Teh sux0rest play: Mark DeRosa bases-loaded walk in the seventh inning -11.5%
Total pitcher WPA: +2.5%
Total batter WPA: -52.5%
GWRBI!: N/A! (Mark DeRosa scored on wild pitch in second inning)
Nice job by MetsFan4Decades; her effort in the game thread embiggens us all.
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