After tonight's loss, the Mets are 57-64, 9.5 games behind the Nationals in the NL East and seven games back in the Wild Card race. To reach a postseason-worthy 89 wins, they would have to go 32-9 to close the season. I feel confident that it ain't happening.
So why keep watching? Tonight's lineup featured a few reasons:
Bartolo Colon, making perhaps his final starts for the Mets before an August waiver trade;
- Travis d'Arnaud, continuing his post-Vegas rebirth at the plate;
- Matt den Dekker, a 27-year-old getting maybe his only chance to show he can stick in the big leagues;
Juan Lagares, a defensive wizard holding his own at the plate (for the moment); and
Wilmer Flores, getting an extended look as an everyday player.
Of this crew, Colon and d'Arnaud had the best games tonight, but all were involved in the action in one way or another. Colon did what he's done much of the year: he threw strikes and logged a bunch of innings. Tonight he added more strikeouts than usual, fanning eight batters in his seven innings of work. His K/BB ratio of 5.95 trails just Clayton Kershaw and his counterpart tonight, Jordan Zimmermann, in the National League.
Colon had a shutout going through the first six innings. With a 1-0 lead, just 72 pitches to his name heading into the seventh, and Nats batters baffled by his offerings, it looked like he might finish that shutout. However, the Nats lineup started to figure him out a little. Adam LaRoche led off with a double and Ian Desmond followed with a single. Desmond advanced to second on a rare throwing error by Lagares (our man Juan overshot the cutoff man and his throw went all the way home). Bryce Harper, who had struck out in both of his at-bats to that point, hit a sacrifice fly to score LaRoche and tie the game 1-1. Next was notorious Mets killer Wilson Ramos, who singled to advance Desmond to third. Kevin Frandsen then gave the Nats a 2-1 lead with another sacrifice fly. Colon retired Zimmermann on what would be his final batter of the game. His final line: seven innings, six hits, two runs, eight strikeouts, one walk. Pretty darn good.
d'Arnaud played a part in both Mets runs. In the fourth inning, with two outs and Lucas Duda on first base, d'Arnaud lifted a routine fly ball to Frandsen in left field. It's a play that outfielders make 99 times out of 100; Mets fans were fortunate the play was the 1%, as Frandsen dropped it. Duda scored from first base, giving the Mets a 1-0 lead at the time. d'Arnaud also hit a solo home run leading off the bottom of the ninth against ace closer Rafael Soriano, putting the Mets down just one run, 3-2 (Asdrubal Cabrera had previously homered against Jeurys Familia in the eighth inning to give the Nats a 3-1 lead).
Next up were three of our aforementioned reasons to keep watching. den Dekker singled (cool), Lagares popped up a bunt to Soriano (boooo), and Flores singled as well (rally!). Eric Young Jr. pinch ran for Flores and Eric Campbell entered as a pinch hitter. Campbell's peripheral offensive stats (BB%, K%, Iso) aren't impressive but a high BABIP has helped him to an above-average slash line. Would he succeed in the big spot? No. He grounded to Desmond at shortstop, who threw out den Dekker at the plate. A brief umpire review determined that the correct call was made and Ramos properly blocked the plate. Curtis Granderson then ended the game on a groundout to Soriano.
The Mets didn't have many opportunities to score runs tonight, but when they did they didn't take advantage. A bases loaded, one-out situation in the seventh inning yielded nothing when Flores grounded out and Kirk Niewenhuis struck out. And the ninth inning was a dud after d'Arnaud's bomb. Now would be a good time for Wright and Granderson to start pulling their weight.
The Mets will try to fend off a sweep Thursday at 7:10 pm ET. The pitching matchup is Dillon Gee vs Stephen Strasburg.
SB Nation GameThreads
Win Probability Added
Big winners: Travis d'Arnaud+21.6%, Lucas Duda +16.1%
Big losers: Eric Campbell -36.3%, Curtis Granderson -17.9%
Teh aw3s0mest play: Wilmer Flores single in the ninth inning, +25.5%
Teh sux0rest play: Eric Campbell fielder's choice in the ninth inning, -36.3%
Total pitcher WPA: -15.1%
Total batter WPA: -34.9%
GWRBI!: Asdrubal Cabrera solo home run in the eighth inning