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No use crying over a split doubleheader

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The Mets and Nationals each took a game in today’s double dip.

New York Mets v Washington Nationals- Game Two Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

Game One

The Mets, namely Francisco Lindor, remembered that not scoring runs is not indicative to winning baseball games, and decided to get on the board immediately. Jonathan Villar smoked a ball to left field to lead off the game off of Joe Ross, and Francisco Lindor — who evidently took the Nationals twitter account personally — went deep on a 2-0 count to end the Mets 21 inning scoreless streak in the blink of an eye.

David Peterson picked up where his left start left off in the bottom of the first, working around a Trea Turner single to work a scoreless inning. The second inning went by scoreless, with the Mets striking out in order and the Nationals putting two on via a one out walk by Starlin Castro, and a two out walk by Victor Robles. Peterson would get his counterpart, Joe Ross, to ground out to end the threat.

The top of the third saw Peterson lead off and get plunked in the leg. Villar “sacrifice bunted” (read: tried to bunt for a hit and failed to do so), getting Peterson to second. Lindor continued his best day in the orange and blue, roping a single to Juan Soto, making it 3-0. Pete Alonso would single him over to second base, but they would not chase home any further runs.

Peterson continued to pitch well, though his control became more and more of an issue as the game went on — and in the third inning especially. After striking out Kyle Schwarber and Turner, he walked Soto, and allowed him to advance to third on two wild pitches. He got out of the inning unscathed, but the threads were starting to show for him. The fourth went as scoreless as the second inning, with the bottom of the Mets lineup going in order again, and Peterson allowing just one runner, by way of a hit by pitch.

The fifth inning started with a bang, as Peterson hit a rocket of a double in the right center gap, hit first hit in the bigs. A Villar ground out put an out on the board, but Lindor picked up his teammate with a home run that honestly might still be in the air, tattoing a ball 110.9 mph into the right field seats, and putting the Mets up 5-0, which would also end the Mets scoring on the afternoon.

Peterson got into some trouble in the bottom of the fifth. After getting the first two out of the frame and nearly tasting a win, Trea Turner put a nail in the coffin of that idea. The speedy shortstop worked a heck of an at bat to chase Peterson, seeing a whopping 11 pitches before hitting a double to left. Clearly out of gas, Peterson was lifted for Aaron Loup, ahead of Soto. That did not work, as Soto smoked a ball to right and chased Turner home. Josh Bell worked a walk, but Loup got out of the jam with a Josh Harrison strike out.

The Mets bottom of the Mets lineup was, you guessed it, quiet in the sixth. Luis Guillorme singled but a failed hit and run with Mason Williams put two outs on the board. A Tomás Nido flyout ended the inning. The Mets bullpen adventure that started with Loup got even more adventurous when Miguel Castro came into the ballgame in the bottom of the sixth. Castro, who has normally been lights out in 2021, looked like someone who had a stiff neck and has not pitched as often recently as he’d like. (Miguel) Castro got (Starlin) Castro on a sharp liner, but back to back bad walks put the Mets in a tough spot. Castro seemingly got out of the one out, two on jam, when he forced long time Nationals fixture Ryan Zimmerman to hit a ball on the ground. Villar, rushing to try and step on third and throw out Zimmerman, flubbed the grounder. Luckily, Zimmerman is not what anyone on planet Earth would describe as “fast”, so Villar was able to scrounge an out out of the whole affair. Seth Lugo, working back to back days (always nice to see coming back from an elbow injury), relieved Castro and got Kyle Schwarber out with relative ease.

After the Mets decided to save the rest of their offense for game two and went 1-2-3 in the seventh, our favorite YouTube and Twitch streaming pitcher, Trevor May came on to put the game in the books. And he did — though not without some drama.

A hard hit single by Turner led off the frame, and an extremely questionable (read: bad) call on a 3-2 fastball to Soto put two on with none out. However, as the ancient adage goes: ball don’t lie, and it did not in this seventh inning. May got Bell to hit into a snappy double play, and made quick work of Harrison, striking him out and getting our beloved Mets back into the beloved win column.

Box scores

ESPN
MLB

*illar of the game

(A personal note: my first *illar of the game! We love to see it, folks) This one was an easy one. Kevin Pillar played one half inning (the seventh, replacing Dom Smith in left field), and did not do anything but stand there, since nothing was hit to him. Jonathan Villar went 1-3 with a run scored, so he wins it by default.

Win Probability Added

FanGraphs

Big Mets winner: Francisco Lindor, +30.6% WPA
Big Mets loser: Billy McKinney, - 3.6% WPA
Mets pitchers: +27.8% WPA
Mets hitters: +22.2% WPA
Teh aw3s0mest play: Francisco Lindor’s first inning, two run home run, +17.3% WPA
Teh sux0rest play: Juan Soto’s walk in the seventh inning, - 4.7% WPA

SB Nation GameThreads

Amazin’ Avenue
Federal Baseball

Game Two

It’s very hard to sweep a doubleheader. We know this to be true, and yet, it is hard not to feel crestfallen when the Mets can’t win the second game, especially against a formerly great ace who now seems merely serviceable. And since Francisco Lindor used up all of his five RBIs for the day in the day game, the Mets mightily struggled this evening.

Jon Lester started the game for the Nationals, and while he never quite looked like the Lester of the early 2010s, he provided a close enough facsimile to irritate the Mets. Lester scattered seven hits and no walks over 6+ innings of work, striking out six. The Mets put runners on against Lester in the third, fourth, sixth, and seventh innings, but couldn’t bring anyone in to score until José Peraza’s seventh inning two-run home run.

Unfortunately for the Mets, the Nationals had an easier time scoring runs this evening than they did this afternoon. Starter/opener Robert Gsellman was greeted with a lead-off home run by Kyle Schwarber, putting the Mets behind almost statistically as soon as possible for a visiting team, with the third pitch of the frame being taken deep. Gsellman’s first inning also included a Trea Turner single and a Josh Bell double, but no additional runs would score in Gsellman’s two-inning appearance.

Sean Reid-Foley entered the game in the third inning, and gave up a solo home run to Trea Turner, putting the Nats up 2-0. In the fourth, the wheels came off for Reid-Foley, who gave up a walk, a single, and a ground rule double, scoring a third run. After getting two strikeouts in the form of Victor Robles and Lester, Schwarber hit his second home run of the game, a three-run no doubter. That would be it for Reid-Foley today.

With a 6-0 deficit already on the books, the Mets turned to today’s 27th man, Yennsy Diaz, who pitched two and a third innings of shut-out ball, striking out two and giving up two hits.

The Mets scored their two runs in the top of the seventh, but the combination of Lester, Wander Suero and, for one batter, closer Brad Hand, eventually silenced the team and secured the win.

The Mets will send Taijuan Walker to the hill tomorrow in an attempt to split the series. He’ll face Patrick Corbin at 1:05pm in Washington.

Box scores

MLB.com

ESPN

*illar of the game

Neither -illar did anything of worth today, so neither gets the nod. That said, Jon Heyman thinks that Kevin Pillar is a ‘ballplayer,’ due to his dirty uniform, so he gets the inaugural ‘Identified as a Member of His Chosen Profession Due to Filth’ of the Day!

Win Probability Added

Mets/Nationals WPA Chart for Game 2, 6/19/21

What’s WPA?

Big Mets winner: Oh gosh, no one at all.

Big Mets loser: Sean Reid-Foley, -20.9% WPA

Mets pitchers: -22.8% WPA

Mets hitters: -27.2% WPA

Teh aw3s0mest play: Albert Almora Jr’s first of two doubles, +5.7% WPA

Teh sux0rest play: Trea Turner’s home run off of Sean Reid-Foley, -11.6% WPA

SB Nation GameThreads

Amazin’ Avenue

Federal Baseball