Things have not been going well for the New York Mets in the last week or so. Coming into Sunday night, they had lost seven of their last eight games to the division-rival Marlins, Phillies, and Nationals and had been without Travis d’Arnaud, Yoenis Cespedes, Lucas Duda, and Wilmer Flores due to injuries. And Sunday night did little to remedy those problems, as the Mets were once again bested by the Nationals to finish off a clean three-game sweep. It was the Mets’ fourth-consecutive loss.
Things got rocky early for Mets starter Zack Wheeler. He hit the first batter of the game, Adam Eaton, with a pitch, and then the next two batters followed up with singles. With the bases loaded and one out, old friend Daniel Murphy took a 1-0 pitch over the center field wall for a grand slam. Murphy continues to kill the Mets in his new life on the Nationals; that was his eighth homer in 20 games against his old team since the start of last season.
So five batters into the game, the Nationals led 4-0. The Mets inched closer in the bottom of the first on a Michael Conforto opposite-field home run. Conforto was by far the star of the game for the Mets, going 3-for-4 with that homer and two runs scored. Conforto is looking like he did this time last year, showing impressive opposite field power and hitting the ball hard all over the place. He’s batting .361/.432/.722 in the early going with four home runs in just 36 at bats. The 24-year-old looks every bit of the budding star he was before his extended slump last season. It would behoove the Mets to continue to play him every day, even when players start coming back from injury.
After the first inning, Wheeler settled down considerably and looked much better. He only allowed one more hit and two walks over the next six innings. He struck out six on the night.
In the bottom of the third inning, the Mets were able to squeeze out a little more offense against Max Scherzer. After Conforto singled to lead off the inning, Neil Walker came up a few batters later and tucked a two-run homer into the right field corner to make it 4-3.
But the Mets would not be able to muster anything else off Scherzer for the rest of the night. After that home run, the only other baserunner the Mets would get off Scherzer was a Conforto single in the bottom of the fifth, which was quickly erased on a double play. The Mets got another single by Walker in the ninth inning off Koda Glover, but those two hits were the entirety of their offense after the third inning.
Josh Smoker came on to relieve Wheeler in the eighth, and got two quick outs before a bloop by Bryce Harper and a blast by Ryan Zimmerman got the Nationals two more runs and put them up 6-3. Jeurys Familia also pitched in this game, and looked better than he had in his first two outings this season, striking out two in a 1-2-3 ninth inning.
The loss puts the Mets at 8-11 for the season. It’s the Mets worst record through the first 19 games of the season since 2011, when they started 6-13.
SB Nation GameThreads
Win Probability Added
Big winners: Michael Conforto, +13.5% WPA, Neil Walker, +13.4% WPA
Big losers: Josh Smoker, -16.5% WPA, Asdrubal Cabrera, -14.0% WPA
Teh aw3s0mest play: Neil Walker hits a two-run homer in the third inning, +18.9% WPA
Teh sux0rest play: Daniel Murphy hits a grand slam in the first inning, -23.5% WPA
Total pitcher WPA: -23.4% WPA
Total batter WPA: -26.6% WPA
GWRBI!: Daniel Murphy