The Mets pulled out another huge win against the Nationals thanks to Lucas Duda, who drove in all three runs in the 3-2 victory. Jacob deGrom gutted through six innings after a rocky start and kept the Mets close. Duda hit two home runs, walked, and doubled, and the bullpen was spotless in three innings. New Met Yoenis Cespdes went 0-for-3 with a walk in his debut.
deGrom certainly did not have his best stuff tonight, struggling from the get go. He threw 31 pitches and gave up two runs in the first inning, missing repeatedly with his breaking pitches and lacking his usual finishing ability. Were it not for a pair of catches by Curtis Granderson on hard hit balls, things could have been much worse. As it was, the Mets were down by two before they came to plate.
Washington rookie starter Joe Ross dominated the Mets for the first three innings. He allowed only a walk to Duda in the first three innings, and had two outs in the fourth when Duda came to the dish again. Ross then left a pitch over the heart of the plate that Duda blasted to center field to break up the no hitter and get the Mets on the board.
Meanwhile, deGrom continued to struggle, unable to generate quick outs and unable to finish batters. Still, he managed to fight his way through six innings and limited the Nationals to just the two runs. That deGrom managed to post a decent stat line when he had no slider and shaky command is very impressive. Bobby Parnell took the ball in the seventh and bounced back with a scoreless inning.
Duda led off the bottom of the seventh. At this point, his seven previous hits had all left the yard, and he had home runs in seven of his last nineteen at bats. This time, Ross made his pitch, spotting his fastball on the outside corner. It didn't matter. Duda drove the pitch onto the Party Citi Deck for his second home run of the game and his eighth in the last seven games, tying the game at two.
Hansel Robles came in to pitch the top of the eight and looked very impressive, striking out Bryce Harper and Jayson Werth and inducing a lazy fly ball from Ryan Zimmerman in between. Granderson then led off the bottom half of the frame with a double to right field, putting the go ahead run in scoring position with no outs. Nationals pitcher Matt Thornton induced a comebacker from Daniel Murphy to keep Granderson at second. Then, in a move that made Terry Collins look like a brilliant tactician, Washington manager Matt Williams walked Yoenis Cespedes to pitch to Lucas Duda with a lefty-lefty matchup. Williams completely ignored Cespedes's reverse platoon splits and the fact that Duda is the hottest hitter in baseball, and Duda made him pay with an opposite field RBI double to drive in Granderson and take the lead.
Jeurys Familia, who had blown his last three save opportunities, entered in the ninth and faced the bottom of the Washington batting order. He looked like first half Familia again, getting a weak fly ball from Ian Desmond and a soft ground ball from Wilson Ramos. He then struck out Michael Taylor to end it.
Lucas Duda was unquestionably the hero tonight. After starting the week on pace for roughly 24 home runs, Duda is now on pace for more than 30. His June swoon long forgotten, Duda is batting .375 with a 1.861 OPS over the last seven days and has his season wRC+ up to 134, right in line with the 136 mark he posted in 2014. A hot Duda transforms the Met lineup, far dwarfing the contributions of any pieces the Mets acquired at the deadline.
The win pulls the Mets to one game back of Washington for the division lead. Noah Syndergaard will face Jordan Zimmermann tomorrow night in the Mets biggest game of the season so far - a win completes a sweep of Washington and ties the Mets atop the division. Get excited, tomorrow night will be insane.
SB Nation GameThreads
Win Probability Added
Big winners: Lucas Duda, +70% WPA, Jeurys Familia, +14% WPA, Hansel Robles, +9% WPA
Big losers: Daniel Murphy, -15% WPA, Ruben Tejada, -14% WPA, Wilmer Flores, -13% WPA, Travis d'Arnaud, -13% WPA
Teh aw3s0mest play: Lucas Duda's eigthth inning, go ahead double off of Matt Thornton, +27.1% WPA
Teh sux0rest play: Daniel Murphy grounds out in the eight inning, -9.0% WPA
Total pitcher WPA: +26% WPA
Total batter WPA: +24% WPA
GWRBI!: Lucas Duda