The Mets made a one-game stop in Washington D.C. on Monday night and did not play their best baseball. With the Mets leaving some regulars out of the lineup, as well as having Jerad Eickhoff on the mound, and the Nationals doing a bullpen game, it was a tossup on who had the upper hand in this matchup.
Jeff McNeil led off the game with a single, but the Mets were not able to do any damage with their first baserunner of the game, as Francisco Lindor had a very hard hit line out before Dominic Smith grounded into an inning ending double play.
In the bottom of the first, Jerad Eickhoff ran into immediate trouble, as Kyle Schwarber led off the Nationals with yet another home run, a towering shot into the upper right field deck. Trea Turner then hit a solo shot of his own, as the Nats jumped out to a 2-0 lead. It got worse from there, as Juan Soto doubled deep to left centerfield, but Eickhoff was able to escape the inning from there, recording three straight outs.
The bottom of the second didn’t get off to any better of a start for Eickhoff, as Gerardo Parra led the inning off with the third solo home run of the night for the Nationals. From there, Eickhoff was able to settle in for the next two-plus innings, as he and the Paolo Espino of the Nats traded outs.
Eickhoff’s smooth sailing was relatively short lived, as Kyle Schwarber led off the inning in the bottom of the fifth. And because Schwarber has turned into the second coming of Barry Bonds in the month of June, he hit yet another home run, his second of the day and 24th of the season, making it 4-0 Nationals. In the sixth, the Nats were able to tag Eickhoff for a fifth run thanks to a Starlin Castro RBI single. Eickhoff’s final line was six innings pitched, eight hits and five runs allowed, with one walk and three strikeouts.
After Paolo Espino shut down the Mets’ lineup for the five innings he pitched, Sam Clay and the rest of the Nationals’ bullpen came into the game, and the Mets’ offense was finally able to get going. In the top of the seventh, Luis Guillorme was able to reach second base on a throwing error on his infield single, and was then moved over to third. Wander Suero then came into the game for the Nats, and after hitting Jose Peraza on the brim of his helmet, Jeff McNeil was able to get an RBI single off Suero to give the Mets their first run of the game.
Wander Suero came back out for the Nationals in the top of the eighth, but after Dominic Smith led the inning off with a single, he was pulled for Justin Miller. Pete Alonso then came to bat, and on the first pitch he saw from Miller, he smashed the ball deep over the left field wall to cut the Mets’ deficit to 5-3. The Mets then got in on the back-to-back home run party themselves, as Billy McKinney hit a homer into the second deck of right field, bringing the Mets within a run. After Kevin Pillar struck out swinging, Davey Martinez called on his closer Brad Hand for a five out save, and Hand was able to retire pinch-hitters Michael Conforto and James McCann to maintain the Nationals one run lead.
With the Mets making it a one run game in the eighth inning, Luis Rojas opted for Miguel Castro in the bottom half of the inning rather than asking Sean Reid-Foley to pitch two innings. Castro was able to get Yan Gomes to fly out to left for the first out of the inning, but then ran into trouble. After walking Gerardo Parra, a groundball was hit into the shift to Travis Blankenhorn. With Blankenhorn not being an everyday player, he and Francisco Lindor misplayed the ball, and there was no one covering second base to turn the double play. Blankenhorn then threw the ball wildly to first, causing each runner to advance. Ryan Zimmerman then came up to the plate, and put the game out of reach for the Mets with a a three-run homer to straight away center.
The Mets went down 1-2-3 in the top of the ninth as Brad Hand completed the five-out save. They will now head to Atlanta for a three-game series beginning Tuesday night.
Win Probability Added
Big Mets winner: Pete Alonso, +10% WPA
Big Mets loser: Jerad Eickhoff, -20% WPA
Mets pitchers: -19% WPA
Mets hitters: -31% WPA
Teh aw3s0mest play: Pete Alonso’s two-run homer in the eighth, +7.6% WPA
Teh sux0rest play: Kyle Schwarber’s solo homer in the bottom of the first, -9.9% WPA