If you want to know what’s wrong with the Mets, this game will tell you everything you need to know. A sterling starting pitching effort was done in by 2018’s greatest hits: invisible offense, shoddy defense and deplorable bullpen work.
It was shaping up to be another NY-Washington mano-a-mano affair, an extremely close game, but then it suddenly wasn’t anymore. Steven Matz faced off against Jefry Rodriguez and for six innings, there was nothing to choose between them. Rodriguez allowed a bare two hits in that span, while walking four and striking out three. Matz surrendered five hits, walked one and struck out seven over seven innings. The difference was one run allowed in the sixth. Trea Turner hit Matz’s first pitch that inning off the orange stripe at the top of the left field fence. It looked for all the world as if the ball had bounced up and ticked off the railing above it — a home run, in that case — but after a lengthy replay review, the umpires ruled that it had stayed in play and Turner would have to settle for a double. Anthony Rendon then hit a bullet up the middle, too hard for Turner to score. Ryan Zimmerman struck out looking, but Juan Soto hit an infield bleeder between Matz and first baseman Jay Bruce. Soto was out at first, but Turner trotted home with the game’s first run, the first run scored by Washington in 32 innings.
It would not be their last. Matz pitched a clean seventh, the end of his fine work for the day. He was replaced by Paul Sewald, who probably should have stayed in bed today. He gave up an infield base hit to Adam Eaton leading off. Eaton stole second. Sewald then walked Turner. Rendon hit a pop fly into no-man’s land between short and left field. Michael Conforto called off Amed Rosario, but the ball landed between them and the bases were loaded. Zimmerman struck out again, but that was the last good news. Sewald walked Soto on a 3-1 pitch and the lead was 2-0. Bryce Harper — given the day off — pinch hit for center fielder Michael A. Taylor and squirted a double between Bruce and the first base bag, clearing the bases and bulging the lead to 5-0. Sewald was replaced by Tyler Bashlor, who also should have called in sick today. He gave up a two-run homer to Wilmer Difo, noted power hitter. After Spencer Kieboom struck out, Bashlor hit pinch-hitter Mark Reynolds and gave up another homer, this one to Eaton, off the facing of the right field upper deck. Mercifully, Turner struck out to end the inning.
The ninth was a lot of fun, too!
Corey Oswalt succeeded Bashlor, gave up singles to Rendon and Soto sandwiched around a Zimmerman popup. Then Harper singled. Difo then singled home Rendon, making the score 10-0. It went to eleven when Kieboom drew a bases loaded walk. Reynolds had stayed in the game at second base and hit the first pitch he saw from Oswalt over the centerfield fence. Four more runs, as if any were necessary.
However, the cloud that has hovered over this Washington team remains in place. With one out in the ninth, Austin Jackson singled off Nats’ closer Kelvin Herrera, the Mets’ third hit of the day. Jose Bautista hit a slow roller back to the mound and Herrera picked it up and headed towards first. In so doing, he sustained some sort of injury to his left leg. He had to hop to first to complete the play and was then taken off the field on a stretcher. The extent of the injury is unknown at the time of this writing.
The Mets head to Chicago to see old friend Daniel Murphy in new surroundings. Noah Syndergaard faces Jon Lester.