Nationals 4, Mets 3
Oliver Perez's pitching line:
IP H R ER BB SO HR PC-ST GS 7.0 8 4 4 0 9 1 120-81 54First, the obvious bad news: the Mets have now dropped two of their first three meetings to a team that is destined to lose 100 games this year. The Washington Nationals have a few rising stars on their roster, but generally speaking they are a terrible team. I mean, it's not as if I actually expected the Mets to win all eighteen some-odd meetings with the Nationals this year, but I expected them to fare a little better in the ones that they have already played. The Mets were actually somewhat unfortunate in Friday night's game, at least with respect to picking up hits with runners on base. Thus far in 2007 the Mets are hitting .271/.370/.426 with runners on, but this time they left nine guys on base, including four in scoring position. Some of that falls on Oliver Perez who, through little fault of his own, isn't a very good hitter, and he came up in a pretty big situation with one out and the bases loaded in the sixth inning, Mets trailing 3-2. Perez struck out and Jose Reyes followed with a groundout to second and the rally was no more.
Arguably, the biggest goof-up of the game was the decision to leave Moises Alou in the game after he doubled in David Wright in the top of the eighth. It was late in the game, the Mets were running out of opportunities, and it seemed like a good time to bring in Endy Chavez to pinch run. Alou stayed in the game and, with nobody out, Shawn Green flied out to center and Jose Valentin flied out to right. The two flyballs likely would have been enough to bring Chavez around to score from second, but the slow-footed Alou was unable to advance even a single base on the two flyouts. It's hard to take Alou out of the lineup (after three hits he is now batting a cartoonish .397), but certainly in retrospect (and likely at the time) Willie Randolph probably made the wrong decision.
On the mound, Oliver Perez actually had a very encouraging outing. He was very hittable in the first inning, allowing three hits including a three-run bomb to Austin Kearns (the Nationals' first three first-inning runs of the season). To his credit, Perez kept his composure and went on to throw a very impressive ballgame. He allowed just five hits over the six subsequent innings, striking out nine and walking zero. Perez has allowed a total of seven walks on the season, all coming in his second start meltdown against the Phillies. He has been mostly marvelous in his other three starts. Again, I think the fact that he was able to put the rocky first inning behind him tonight and have the confidence and the stuff to dominate the Nationals the rest of the way is a very good sign for the future of Perez.
Other than that, what can you say? The offense had its chances to score runs and they weren't able to convert on most occasions. They had eleven hits and a walk but were only able to scratch out those three runs, and that wasn't enough to overcome the Nats. Washington's bullpen was very strong, allowing just two hits and one run (all by Jon Rauch) in 3.2 innings of work. Let's just put this one behind us and go back out there and win one for Tommy tomorrow.
- Hitting: Moises Alou, 29.1% WPA
- Pitching: Joe Smith, 3.3% WPA
- Hitting: Oliver Perez, -20.3% WPA
- Pitching: Oliver Perez, -11.2% WPA