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Carlos Gomez’s eighth inning heroics ensure Mets’ sweep of the Nationals

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Yee yee yee.

Washington Nationals v New York Mets Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images

There was a time that a four-game sweep of that Nationals was hailed as something close to a miracle for the Mets. But those Nats teams didn’t have a leaky bullpen, and their resident superstar hadn’t bolted for redder pastures. But regardless, anytime the Mets can take four games from the Nationals, as they did today, when they beat them 6-4, it feels special.

This victory feels extra special, however, because of a few key circumstances. The first is that the Mets got to Stephen Strasburg, tagging him for three runs over seven innings. While Strasburg limited the Mets to mostly soft contact, giving up five hits and two walks over seven innings while striking out five, Strasburg is a reminder of the powerful Nationals teams of years past.

But more than that, the Mets completed this sweep with a ragtag lineup that barely resembled Opening Day. But those replacement players have been coming through lately, and certainly did today.

In the bottom of the fifth inning, Carlos Gomez led off the inning with a single. He then stole second base and, on a throwing error, took third as well, losing his shoe in the process. A Juan Lagares sacrifice fly gave the Mets their first lead of the day.

It wouldn’t last long, however, as Steven Matz, who had been hit hard all day, finally let in a run in the top of the sixth inning on a play that is too ugly to be properly described using only the written word. After Juan Soto doubled to start the inning, Brian Dozier bunted, and the attempted shuffle pass from Adeiny Hechavarria sailed over Pete Alonso’s head. Soto scored on the errant throw, and Dozier took second and, for some reason, took off for third base. Matz saw him, and threw him out at third. Over his start, Matz allowed ten hits and two walks, striking out seven, but was able to get the Mets through six innings with just one run crossing the plate.

In the bottom of the sixth, the Mets mounted some more offense, though again, through lucky drops and weak contact. A single from J.D. Davis and a hit by pitch to Todd Frazier saw Strasburg put two on with just one out. A wild pitch advanced the runners, before Alonso drove in Davis with a sacrifice fly, and then Wilson Ramos plated Frazier with a single.

The lead was blown, however, in the eighth inning, when Robert Gsellman continued his Jekylll and Hyde season. He started off the eighth by striking out Howie Kendrick, who disagreed on the third strike check-swing call, and was ejected, along with his manager Dave Martinez. Gsellman then walked Juan Soto, and got Dozier to pop out. But a Victor Robles single, a Yan Gomes double, and a pinch-hit single from Gerardo Parra led to three runs, and cost the Mets the lead.

But in the bottom of the eighth, the Mets made some noise. Dominic Smith led off the inning with a double off of Nationals’ reliever Wander Suero. After striking out Todd Frazier and Alonso, Suero intentionally walked Wilson Ramos to get to Gomez. Gomez continued his happy reunion tour by blasting a three run home run to left-center field to give the Mets the lead once again, spiking his bat and giving the ‘okay’ hand gesture before skipping around the bases like a madman. It was beautiful.

Edwin Diaz saved the game for the Mets, and the four game sweep was complete. The Mets welcome the Tigers this weekend to Citi Field. Gregory Soto will face Noah Syndergaard in the first game of the series tomorrow evening.

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Win Probability Added

Mets vs Nationals WPA Chart, 5/23/19 Fangraphs.com

What’s WPA?

Big winners: Carlos Gomez, +79.6% WPA, Dominic Smith, +18.0% WPA, Wilson Ramos, +14.9% WPA, Steven Matz +14.9% WPA

Big losers: Robert Gselllman, -61.4% WPA, Adeiny Hechavarria -11.3 WPA%, Pete Alonso, -11.2% WPA

Total pitcher WPA: -34.1% WPA

Total batter WPA: +84.1% WPA

Teh aw3s0mest play: Carlos Gomez’s three-run home run, +68.1% WPA

Teh sux0rest play: Gerardo Parra’s two-run single, -48.2% WPA