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!