In the second game of the second annual Player’s Weekend series, the Mets and Nationals faced off tonight at Citi Field. For the second straight night, the Mets pitching staff shut out the Nationals on their way to a 3-0 victory. The Nationals have now failed to score in their last three games, having been shut out by Aaron Nola of the Phillies on Thursday, and Jason Vargas last night.
Tonight it was Zack Wheeler who kept the Nationals from scoring. Wheeler continued his recent run of success tonight, as he managed to give the Mets seven scoreless innings despite not having his best stuff. He struggled with his command throughout the outing, walking three and only striking out four, but managed to work his way in and out of trouble unscathed.
He found himself in trouble almost immediately when Adam Eaton reached on a bunt single to open up the game. Eaton would advance to second on a Trea Turner sacrifice bunt, and would advance to third on an Anthony Rendon infield single, giving the Nationals runners on first and third with two outs and 19-year-old phenom Juan Soto at the plate. After getting ahead of the Rookie of the Year front runner 1-2, Wheeler was able to strike Soto out with a splitter to escape the jam.
Washington’s best scoring opportunity of the game came in the top of the third inning. After striking out opposing pitcher Tanner Roark to start the inning, Wheeler walked Adam Eaton and gave up a single to Trea Turner to give the Nationals runners on first and third with one out. After Turner stole second without a throw, Wheeler walked Bryce Harper to load the bases. With the bases loaded Wheeler made some big pitches, getting Anthony Rendon to line out softly, and Juan Soto to ground out to escape the jam.
Tanner Roark was arguably the better pitcher through the first five innings, but ran into trouble in the sixth. After striking out Wheeler to start the sixth inning, Roark gave up a long home run to Amed Rosario to give the Mets a 1-0 lead. With his team now behind a run, Roark managed to get though the rest of the inning unscathed before handing the game over to the Nationals bullpen.
While the Rosario home run gave the Mets enough offense to win tonight, they managed to score two insurance runs off of the National’s bullpen. With one out in the bottom of the seventh inning, Todd Frazier homered for the third time in his last four games off of Wander Suero to put the Mets ahead 2-0. Michael Conforto extended the Mets’ lead to 3-0 in the bottom of the eighth, when he singled with runners on first and third off of Matt Grace. Three runs proved to be plenty of run support for the Mets bullpen, as Daniel Zamora, Drew Smith, and Jerry Blevins combined to pitch two scoreless innings in relief of Wheeler to secure a series victory against their division rivals.
The Mets will attempt to complete a three game sweep of the Nationals on Sunday afternoon in Flushing, with Steven Matz scheduled to face off against Jefry Rodriguez at 1:10PM.
SB Nation GameThreads
Win Probability Added
Big winners: Zack Wheeler, +43.9%, Amed Rosario, +16.2%
Big losers: None
Teh aw3s0mest play: Amed Rosario’s solo home run, +18.8%
Teh sux0rest play: Trea Turner’s single in the top of the third inning to put runners on first and third with one out -7.4%
Total pitcher WPA: +53.9%
Total batter WPA: -3.9%
GWRBI!: Amed Rosario