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Mets vs. Nationals recap: What else did you expect?

The Mets lost decisively and suffered another injury.

MLB: Washington Nationals at New York Mets Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

The Mets lost the opening game of their four-game set with the Nationals 8-3. Robert Gsellman was beat up by the Nationals’ offense, and Gio Gonzalez tossed seven innings of two-run ball, performing well as he always does at Citi Field. On top of the loss and all the negative injury news from earlier, Juan Lagares exited with what turned out to be a thumb fracture. But hey, Rafael Montero looked like a decent major league pitcher for three innings, so we’ve got that going for us, which is nice.

The Nationals wasted no time, with Bryce Harper hitting a laser beam home run at 116 MPH to put the Mets in an early 1-0 hole. Gsellman managed to work through some jams, stranding runners at second and third in the second inning and escaping when Bryce Harper was thrown out at the plate in the third.

Gsellman wasn’t as fortunate in the fourth, when Gio Gonzalez drove in Matt Wieters with a single. Back to back doubles from Yoenis Cespedes and Jay Bruce in the bottom half finally got the Mets on the board, cutting the Nationals’ lead to 2-1. That deficit would quickly balloon however, as Gsellman continued to struggle in the fifth.

Brian Goodwin led off with a double and moved to third on a single by Ryan Zimmerman two batters later. Next, in the latest installment of Daniel Murphy torturing his former team, the former Met second baseman drove in two runs with a triple. Anthony Rendon drove in Murphy, then scored himself on Michael Taylor’s home run. Gsellman finally escaped by retiring Gonzalez, but the Nationals put up five runs and stretched the lead to 7-1. To put a cherry on top of that delightful inning, Juan Lagares left the game with an injury after an attempted diving catch (more on that later).

Gsellman left the game after his rough fifth, allowing seven runs, eleven hits, and two home runs, walking two and striking out three. His ERA for the season now stands at 5.50, a huge disappointment after his strong debut in 2016 and prospect hype this offseason.

Rene Rivera drove an opposite field home run (only the second such homer in his career) to cut the Nationals lead to five, but some shoddy defense quickly gave that run back in the top of the sixth. Trea Turner reached on a throwing error by Wilmer Flores, then scored on a double off the bat of Brian Goodwin. Curtis Granderson was slow getting to the ball and third base coaches are always eager to challenge his weak arm. T.J. Rivera didn’t help with a poor relay home.

Rafael Montero contributed three perfect innings of relief with three strikeouts (yes, you read that correctly), but the game was too far gone for the Mets to mount a comeback. Wilmer Flores launched a solo shot off Joe Blanton in the eighth and that was as close as the Mets would getting, losing the game 8-3. The loss drops the Mets to 30-35, 9.5 games back of the Nationals in the division.

On the injury front, X-Rays on Lagares showed a fractured IP joint of his left thumb, the same thumb he had surgery on last season. On a day when it was announced that Neil Walker and Matt Harvey would both miss several weeks with injuries and that Noah Syndergaard was still at least four weeks away from any sort of throwing, this was hardly the news Met fans were hoping for. The rash of injuries this year (and the Mets’ refusal to leverage their prospect resources to supplement the major league team) continues to diminish any remaining playoff hopes for this season. The Mets now have 6 of their 15 highest paid players on the DL, good for $63 million of their $154 million payroll.

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Box scores


Win Probability Added

WPA Graph 6-15

What’s WPA?

Big winners: None
Big losers: Robert Gsellman, -37% WPA
Teh aw3s0mest play: Michael Taylor pops out with runners on second and third in the second, +7.2% WPA
Teh sux0rest play: Daniel Murphy hits a two run triple off of Robert Gsellman in the fifth; -15.8% WPA
Total pitcher WPA: -37% WPA
Total batter WPA: -13% WPA
GWRBI!: Daniel Murphy’s 2-RBI Triple in the Fifth