With the possibility to achieve the elusive ‘goose egg sweep,’ the Mets entered this afternoon’s game against the Nationals bolstered by excellent starting pitching and some timely hitting from their club so far this weekend.
Then the game started. Hold onto your butts.
The Mets continued their string of spectacular starting pitching today with a gem from Steven Matz. It didn’t necessarily start off in glorious fashion, but Matz was able to work around a lead off single by Adam Eaton and Ryan Zimmermann walk in the first inning without allowing a National to score.
Matz would put runners on base in both the third and fifth innings, but managed to escape those predicaments unscathed. The only blemish on his day came in the sixth inning, where Trea Turner lead off the inning was a double that just missed being a home run. An Anthony Rendon single pushed Turner to third, and he eventually came around to score on a Juan Soto ground out.
Matz really handled himself well today, working himself out of trouble and staying focused. Over his seven innings of work, he gave up just five hits and one walk, while striking out seven.
Sadly, the Mets couldn’t score runs behind him all day. Despite Jefry Rodriguez allowing baserunners in all but one inning, he, like Matz, limited the damage all day. Rodriguez gave up two hits, walked four, and struck out three over his six innings of work.
The top of the eighth got off to a wild start, with Paul Sewald giving up a single and a stolen base to Eaton, walking Turner, and giving up a single to Rendon, loading the bases with no outs. Jeff McNeil then left the game with a tight quad, further hindering the Mets’ offensive chances at a comeback. Sewald struck out Ryan Zimmerman before walking Soto, bringing in the second run of the game for the Nationals, as well as the second RBI for Soto without collecting a hit on the afternoon.
But the big blow came just one batter later, when pinch hitter Bryce Harper cleared the bases with a double to right field. Tyler Bashlor replaced Sewald after that double, and was greeted swiftly by a Wilmer Difo two-run home run. Bashlor’s bad afternoon continued after he struck out Spencer Kieboom, walking Mark Reynolds and surrendering his second two-run home run of the inning to Eaton.
The top of the ninth inning wasn’t much better, with Corey Oswalt gave up six earned runs, capped off by a Reynolds grand slam. It was an unruly performance by the relief corps today, and showed that, despite getting a string of great starts, the Mets still have a lot of work to do on their pitching staff this off-season.
The Mets have taken getting blown out to a new level this season, making this the eighth game thus far that they have lost by eight or more runs. Despite winning the first two games of this series, the Mets were nearly outscored three to one for the series itself.
The Mets now head to Chicago, where they face the Cubs for three game set at Wrigley. Noah Syndergaard will face Jon Lester in the opening game of the series tomorrow evening.
SB Nation GameThreads
Win Probability Added
Big winners: Steven Matz, +20.6% WPA
Big losers: Paul Sewald, -23.0% WPA, Amed Rosario, -12.6% WPA, Austin Jackson, -12.1% WPA
Teh aw3s0mest play: Todd Frazier’s sixth inning walk, +4.5% WPA
Teh sux0rest play: A tie from two sixth inning plays: Trea Turner’s near home run double, Anthony Rendon’s single that followed, -9.5% WPA each
Total pitcher WPA: -3.6% WPA
Total batter WPA: -46.4% WPA
GWRBI!: Juan Soto, lol