The outcome of this one was fitting, given that it was a day to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the 1962 Mets. Six Mets pitchers combined to issue ten walks; Mets batters struck out fifteen times against Stephen Strasburg and three Nationals relievers; Terry Collins was ejected in the seventh inning for arguing balls and strikes; and the Nats scored their runs on, in order, a wild pitch, a bases-loaded walk, a fielder's choice, and a bases-loaded walk. It was a slog of a game.
Strasburg and Johan Santana each did their best Rich Harden imitation, striking out a bunch without pitching too deep into the game. Strasburg threw six shutout innings with nine strikeouts and three walks in his Citi Field debut. Santana lasted five innings, allowing one run on five hits while striking out eight and walking three. The swinging strikes were coming for Santana -- he tallied 14 in 99 pitches, in line with his Cy Young seasons in the mid 2000s. The Nats' only run against him came in the second inning when Xavier Nady scored on a wild pitch. The strikeouts and velocity -- Santana's fastball sat in the 88-89 mph range -- are encouraging, although the Nats were swinging-and-missing an awful lot in this series. They struck out 31 times in the three game set, perhaps doing their part to make Mets' starters look good.
The Mets' bullpen has been superb in this young season but struggled today. Manny Acosta relieved Santana, allowing a run on three walks in 1.1 innings pitched. Ramon Ramirez followed and walked a pair, one of which came against Mark DeRosa with the bases loaded to force in a run. Jon Rauch recorded two clean outs and was succeeded by Miguel Batista to start the ninth inning. Batista allowed a single to Ryan Zimmerman, hit Jayson Werth with a pitch, and walked DeRosa without recording an out. Meanwhile, Gary Cohen and Howie Rose both mentioned this week that Collins said something about Batista being used as a closer, if the need should arise. Okay. Tim Byrdak entered next and walked in one of Batista's baserunners but allowed nothing more.
It looked promising in the first inning for the Mets offense, when Ruben Tejada led off with a single and Daniel Murphy followed with a walk. However, Lucas Duda, Ike Davis, and Jason Bay made outs to end the burgeoning run barrage. The offensive highlight after that was Ike's first hit of the season, a single off Strasburg in the sixth inning. It was getting a little awkward there for Ike. Hopefully he can pull it together this weekend in Philadelphia.