Gut Reaction: Mets 7, Nationals 5 – 04/28/2017

Whew! We really, really needed that win. Prior to the game, Terry Collins spoke about a sense of urgency, and it sure felt more like a September playoff push game than an April contest. But after lousy play, lousy weather, and lousy injuries dropped this team to last place, Collins wasn’t going to stand for anything less than max effort and energy from his beleaguered team as they opened a series against the red hot, division leading Nationals. And gosh darn it, that’s exactly what he got.

We’re talking a 2-home run, 5-RBI night from Travis d’Arnaud backing a monster 7-inning, 12-strikeout performance from Jacob deGrom, We’re talking a 12-hit, 2-homer, 3-double, 5-walk, 4-steal, take the extra base kind of performance from the lineup. Double plays and diving plays from the defense. And, the gutsiest call a Mets manager has made in years to save the game. Wow.

deGrom, despite giving up two second inning homers to Ryan Zimmerman and Matt Wieters, settled down and threw a brilliant mix of 97 to 98 mph fastballs, biting sliders and artful changeups to keep the Nationals off balance and off the board for the next 5 innings. Scherzer might have kept pace but d’Arnaud had other plans, crushing a 2-run home run in the second to give the Mets their first lead, and then adding a 3-run bomb in the 4th to give us a 5-3 lead. That lead held, but not without some drama.

The Mets added two insurance runs in the top of the 8th but it should have been more as they stranded the bases loaded with no outs. In the bottom of the 8th Jerry Blevins got two outs, but Addison Reed coughed up a 2-run home run to the resurrected Zimmerman (his second of the game) to cut the lead back to two.

Jeurys Familia also did his best to undo a great team performance, but kudos to Collins for recognizing quickly that his closer didn’t have it.  Rather than sit by and watch him blow it, Collins wisely yanked the struggling closer after he loaded the bases in the 9th, in favor of taking his chances with match-ups. He was rewarded for the decision as Josh Edgin miraculously got Bryce Harper to ground into a game-ending 1-2-3 double play that was executed perfectly

It was a nail biter in the end but we got encouraging performances from Jose Reyes (2 hits, a steal and some aggressive base running), TJ Rivera (2 hits, a walk and passable work at first base), Asdrubal Cabrera (2 hits and 2 steals!) and, of course, the heroes of the game – d’Arnaud, deGrom, and Edgin. It’s only one game, but it feels like a huge win. If nothing else, we can’t get swept and who knows, we beat their best pitcher and perhaps the momentum has shifted. Let’s go Mets!

12 comments for “Gut Reaction: Mets 7, Nationals 5 – 04/28/2017

  1. TexasGusCC
    April 29, 2017 at 12:22 am

    Matt, tonight I felt something that I can’t remember feeling before. While I was working all night, I found myself listening to about half the game, albeit in pieces. Rose, and especially Lewin, were killing the Mets early. Some tidbits:
    – Before the TDA homerun, the Mets haven’t led in the last 58 innings.
    – Curtis Granderson is 4 for his last 49.
    – The Mets are last in average in MLB by 12 points.

    Those guys are way more straightforward than KGR are.

    But, when we got to the top of the ninth and they were telling their audience that Familia was warming up, no one seemed surprised. However, I found myself saying “why is he anointed immediately? Why doesnt he let players build up slowly?” I was thing that Collins is a careless manager that has lost many games for his team by ignoring the obvious happenings and catering to the ego of the player rather than his performance. And as I listened to the events unfold, including a pretty good lashing at Reyes by Lewin and Rose for his lack of effort on the Eaton grounder, something totally unexpected happened: Collins grew balls! Right there in front of us, he wasn’t going to let a player cost the rest of the team. I was sooooooooooo proud. If Edgin gives up a grand slam, well, it was better than letting Familia get beat just because he’s “the closer”.

    For the record, I agreed with leaving Harvey in the 9th inning of Game 5, Collins managed in the moment and Familia wasn’t exactly lights out in previous games. But, tonight Collins managed like a real manager and it’s about time!

    I say out loud: Great job Terry!!! Keep up the good work. Drop Granny in the order. Reward production and shield those struggling. Don’t bench Reyes or Granny, but hit them where their production belongs, 7 and 8. This team needs to stop the coddling if these millionaires. This was more than a win, it’s an eye-popping change in approach that is about three years too late.

    • MattyMets
      April 29, 2017 at 10:39 am

      TexasGus- that game restored fan faith. I agree – it felt like a needed change in approach. Like you I was also in favor of leaving Harvey in that game. When he’s right, Familia is pretty awesome, but when he’s not just right…

      I could listen to Howie Rose forever. Whenever the Mets are nationally televised, I mute the TV and let him handle the play-by-play. It’s worth the 15 second lag to not have to listen to Joe Buck or some other blowhard. As Mets fans we really are blessed with some of the best announcers in the business. KGR make a great team. For comparison, try watching a Yankee game. I do miss Bobby O though.

    • Chris F
      April 29, 2017 at 3:32 pm

      Gus, we need to get on the same page. IN the chatter last night i was beside myself with the pen management screaming at my TV. I even flat out said Collins lost the game. And now we give Collins credit for putting in Edgin, but why was he even in there at all in the 9th? Hes clearly not ready. Why bring in Reed for 1 out when we know that never works. I just fialed to see the genius in bringing in Edgin becuase it was self inflicted to get there.

      • TexasGusCC
        April 29, 2017 at 8:59 pm

        Chris, I was working and couldn’t follow the game. But, I found my solice this year: I don’t follow and live and die in each pitch. I miss games and it keeps me fresh.

        But, I agreed with the masses that Blevins should have had a chance to pitch to Zimmerman, but we’re talking about Collins’ phobias and superstitions regarding bullpen usage, which won’t change. Also, since he proclaimed Familia “the closer”, it was to be expected.

        But, just getting Collins to not completely cater to a player’s ego, which he always does, was amazing! Now, if only he could see that Granny is 4 for his last 54 and drop him down, but we are hoping for improvement, not miracles.

        Don’t forget, Collins is revered for getting these players to play hard all the time. LOLLLLLLLL!!!!! So how are we talking for two years in a row about lack of energy? Like I said, we are hoping for change but all change is difficult and hard to wonder how many tricks this old dog will learn now. He needs to constantly be in the hot seat to get him motivated.

  2. April 29, 2017 at 12:49 am

    JDG has been terrific. It seems like he has one bad inning each game but he fought back and gave the team 7 innings. I was pleasantly surprised to see him come back for that 7th inning.

    I wish we didn’t need four relievers to pitch two innings. But beggars can’t be choosers and we were begging for a win at the start of the game.

    Super happy for TDA, especially with all of his troubles against RHP this year.

    • MattyMets
      April 29, 2017 at 10:41 am

      TDA’s first homer was the epitome of “hitting it on the screws.” I could watch that replay over and over. The second he connected, every person in the stadium knew it was a homer.

  3. NormE
    April 29, 2017 at 7:35 am

    I wish TC would let Blevins pitch a full inning. Those partial innings put too much strain on the bullpen. But I can forgive Terry for that if the Mets keep winning.

  4. Metsense
    April 29, 2017 at 7:48 am

    A nice summary of the encouraging signs, Matt.
    The Mets needed this game and that was why the first tier relief pitchers were pitching (Blevins, Reed and Familia) with a four run lead in a non save, non hold situation. Blevins should have finished the eighth. Removing an effective relief pitcher with a four run lead leads to Burning Down The Pen.
    In the end, TC made the right gutsy call and Edgin threw the right pitch. Familia was not effective.

    • TexasGusCC
      April 29, 2017 at 10:11 am

      Very good point by you and Norm on Blevins. Blevins deserves some rope; he’s been very good since he’s been on the Mets and it was a four run lead.

    • MattyMets
      April 29, 2017 at 10:43 am

      Thanks, Metsense. That game had a playoff feel to it. I agree with you about the Blevins call. Not just because he’s not a LOOGY and can get righties out, but he was throwing really well. I love when he can get that loopy curveball over. With his delivery it looks like it’s coming from first base.

      • April 29, 2017 at 11:48 am

        When he threw that first loopy curve ball, my reaction was “Great pitch! Don’t throw it again.”

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