Gut Reaction: Mets 4 Nationals 2 (8/25/17)

The not-really-the-Mets beat the not-really-the-Nationals in a game that featured outstanding pitching, stout defense, timely hitting and another catastrophic injury. More on that in a bit.

Both teams fielded lineups that would be better suited to Spring Training or mid-September, rather than a regular season Friday night in late August. Both teams fielded those lineups for different reasons: the Nats because of a late extra-inning affair on Thursday night, the Mets out of dire necessity. A.J. Cole was summoned from the minors to start for Washington, facing off against Jacob deGrom. As you would imagine, deGrom had the better of the bargain.

The Mets started things off in the first, looking like they would blow the game open right away. Brandon Nimmo worked the count to 3-2 before working out a leadoff walk. Juan Lagares, mired in an awful slump, struck out on three over-swings. Yoenis Cespedes also worked out a 3-2 walk and Asdrubal Cabrera spanked a base hit into right field chasing home Nimmo. Dominic Smith then hit a single up the middle that was pure bad luck on a couple of levels. The ball bounced up and caught the leg of second base umpire Andy Fletcher’s trousers and the dead ball deprived the Mets of a run. It also cost the Mets the services of Cespedes, possibly for the rest of the year. He strained his right hamstring — again — making the turn from second to third and hobbled off the field, accompanied by manager Terry Collins and, yes, trainer Ray Ramirez. After that drama, Travis d’Arnaud and Amed Rosario both struck out to end the inning.

For his part, deGrom was masterful, albeit against Washington’s “B-minus” lineup, as Gary Cohen put in on the SNY broadcast. The Nats were missing Bryce Harper and Jayson Werth due to injury, of course, but in the wake of the previous night’s marathon, manager Dusty Baker also gave a night off to Ryan Zimmerman, Anthony Rendon, Matt Wieters and Howie Kendrick. deGrom had little trouble against the Washington scrubs, going seven and two-thirds, surrendering five hits, one walk, one earned run and striking out ten.

It took the Mets until the eighth to widen that 1-0 lead, when Lagares smoked a line drive double past right fielder Andrew Stevenson. Matt Reynolds — Cespedes’s replacement in left — hit a grounder up the middle to knock Lagares in. Cabrera then hit a booming double over the head of Michael Taylor in center. Smith hit a long fly to our old friend Alejandro De Aza in left to open the lead to 3-0.

The Nats got a run back in the bottom of the eighth, when, with two outs, Stevenson hit a long double off the wall in left and third baseman Adrian Sanchez singled to right. That brought up Daniel Murphy, the lone regular in the starting lineup. Collins came and got deGrom, waving in Jerry Blevins, who got Murphy to wave at a 1-2 pitch in the dirt, averting further trouble.

The Mets added some padding in the ninth off reliever Joe Blanton, a two-out single and stolen base by Nimmo and a line drive base knock by Lagares. A. J. Ramos came in to nail down the win and just couldn’t do it easily. Adam Lind greeted him with long home run over the centerfield fence on the first pitch. Wilmer Difo hit a double down the right field line. That brought up Taylor as the tying run. He hit a pop fly to the infield for the first out. That brought up the pitcher’s spot and Baker sent up Mets’ tormentor Rendon to pinch hit. He walked, bringing up Wieters pinch hit for catcher Jose Lobaton, representing the winning run. Wieters drew a walk and this game looked like it was circling the drain. Kendrick — having come in on a double switch earlier — was next and he hit a sinking liner to right that Nimmo grabbed with a terrific catch and everyone had to hold. Ramos froze Stevenson on a slider for strike three to end things.

It’ll be Robert Gsellman vs. Gio Gonzalez tomorrow afternoon.

7 comments for “Gut Reaction: Mets 4 Nationals 2 (8/25/17)

  1. TexasGusCC
    August 25, 2017 at 11:27 pm

    Nice win, but we better get used to these kinds of outings by Ramos. Notice, Smith’s flyball went to left field. With Nimmo and Smith joining Conforto as line to line hitters, add one more guy and the Mets lineup would be so much more effective without the solo homeruns and of course, with the improved defense.

  2. Jimmy P
    August 26, 2017 at 5:06 am

    So, I’m confused: By adding Nimmo (730 OPS) and Smith (600 OPS) the Mets lineup is on its way to being so much more effective . . . so long as they add one more guy? Because they are “line to line” hitters?

    What do you mean?

    Wasn’t it better with Bruce/Granderson and Duda?

    Personally, sure, in the abstract I like a guy who uses the whole field, etc. But production is the name of the game.

    It may be that Smith turns into a wonderful offensive player at some later date. It may be that playing him now is a good investment in the future. But so far, based strictly on reality — the things that have actually happened on the field — it is resoundingly clear that he’s made the offense worse, despite hitting “line to line.”

    I’m surprised by Cecchini’s wild, one-handed finish to his swings. It’s certainly different, especially from a lightweight middle infielder.

    Nimmo is a strange player. I’m glad he’ll get more time. If he can continue to walk at this astonishing rate, you can make an argument that he’s a useful everyday player — despite having a SLG below .400. But because of that low SLG, I wonder why pitchers would continue to walk him. They just have to realize that 1) He won’t chase; and 2) He won’t hurt you. But maybe Nimmo starts to hit a bit. He’s going to have to. Again, I’m curious to see more of him, but right now his game is too walk-reliant for me to be a believer.

    • DED
      August 26, 2017 at 11:53 am

      I feel like we’ve known Nimmo forever, even though his major league exposure is small. Known him, and know what to expect from him; and as such, I intend to be only marginally impressed if he performs well after the rosters expand, as he did last year. Because, you know, that’s not exactly the same thing as driving for a Division title..

    • TexasGusCC
      August 26, 2017 at 11:54 am

      James, those beautiful OPS numbers are like checking out a hot girl with nice makeup, nice hair, the right clothing, a little padding in the right places and obviously the guy’s state of mind.

      Duda sucked! I don’t give a crap about his .900+ OPS when I watched every game. He hit 14 solo shots out of his 17 homeruns. Did he not have any base runners on, or is it easier to ht the solo homers since the pitcher usually is more prone to just looking to throw strikes and not looking at location as much? What was Duda’s average with runners on? How can a hitter have only a 2:1 ratio of RBI:HRs? Have you ever seen a 30 HR hitter with 60 RBI, or a 40 with 80? That’s ridiculous. That’s called stat padding!!! And I’m tired of hearing how good these guys were. They were 10 games under .500 having all these lumberjacks that didn’t bring runners in. The Mets hit 75% solo homers! 75%!! And let me not say a word about their “defense”.

      Smith and Nimmo are players that haven’t even played a month in the majors. Their approach is what you are going to project. Will they work out? Maybe. Did the other guys? No.

      Bruce was clutch. Granny was pretty clutch over 4 years, 2016 notwithstanding. Duda had a few moments, but “a few” over 6 years is pretty sad.

      I don’t care about OPS. OPS suffers when players give themselves up to move runners up or bring runners in. Go look at the Giants “gawdy” OPS stats then check out their three rings.

      Met fans shouldn’t lose track of what wins games and what is deceptive.

    • August 26, 2017 at 1:16 pm

      I keep trying to imagine what Rosario would be like if he had Nimmo’s plate discipline…

  3. Metsense
    August 26, 2017 at 7:55 am

    Jake is an excellent pitcher, a true Ace and with Syndergaard the nucleus of a rotation. Rojas is not Reed and certainly not Familia but he does convert saves like his job description calls for. Nimmo is now sporting a 406 OBA . It will be interesting to see if he able will be able to sustain an upper 300 OBA. The Mets need to reevaluate their off season and in season training methods along with their game preparation. It is clearly not working.

  4. Pete from NJ
    August 26, 2017 at 8:39 am

    We’re watching the Las Vegas 51s without needing a plane ticket out west. But as fans we’ll be there because baseball for us is almost over.

    Anyone watching the score board rooting against the Yankees?

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