Tonight's yawner was a welcome rest after Tuesday's breakneck affair. There were no blown saves, extra innings, or violent swings in win expectancy in this one. It's just unfortunate that both games ended in a loss for the good guys.
The Nationals jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first inning on a three-run home run by Adam LaRoche off Jeremy Hefner. The homer followed an error by Daniel Murphy, which allowed Bryce Harper to reach base, and a walk to Ryan Zimmerman. To his credit, Hefner settled down after a shaky start, turning in a solid fifth starter type game. He lasted six innings, allowing four runs (three earned) on seven hits. Six of the seven hits were singles. He struck out three, walked one, and was generally around the plate -- 70 of his 99 pitches were strikes, a strong percentage.
Meanwhile, Edwin Jackson held the Mets' bats in check most of the night. He allowed three runs on just three hits, with only Ike Davis's opposite field double in the seventh inning going for extra bases. Jackson was wilder than Hefner -- he walked four and just 60% of his pitches were strikes -- but he managed to avoid big innings with timely strikeouts and a double play by Andres Torres to end the third inning. The Mets scored their first run in that third inning on a Kirk Nieuwenhuis RBI single, but Torres ended hopes of a rally with his GIDP. They added a run each in the fourth and seventh innings on RBI ground outs by Lucas Duda and Omar Quintanilla, respectively. That would be all though, as Sean Burnett and Tyler Clippard each pitched a scoreless inning to close it out.
Murphy made a second error tonight in the third inning and now has nine on the season. It's been a struggle for Murph in the field lately. About a month ago, AA readers rated his defense at 4.4/9 -- just slightly below average -- but I wonder if a new poll would yield worse results. Murph also went 0-for-4 at the plate tonight, dropping his OPS to .703. June could be gut-check time for the Irish Hammer, who might lose his nickname unless he hits a home run soon.
R.A. Dickey faces Chien-Ming Wang Thursday at 1:05 pm as the Metsies will try to avoid the sweep. Dickey vs. Wang.
Big winners: Ike Davis +7.1%, David Wright +6.6%
Big losers: Jeremy Hefner -22.2% (as pitcher), Daniel Murphy -11.9%
Teh aw3s0mest play: Kirk Nieuwenhuis RBI single in the third inning +7.3%
Teh sux0rest play: Adam LaRoche three-run home run in the first inning -23.0%
Total pitcher WPA: -28.9%
Total batter WPA: -21.1%
GWRBI!: Mike Morse RBI single in the fifth inning