A bad eighth inning led to three Washington runs, leading the Nationals to a 4-2 win, which was the Mets’ first loss of the season.

Before we get to the eighth, we need to talk about the sixth inning. Buck Showalter went to his bullpen with two outs and nobody on base, taking out Carlos Carrasco, who was simply cruising. Showalter played the matchup game, bringing in lefty Chasen Shreve to face Juan Soto. Shreve retired Soto to end the inning.

In a bit of a surprise, Showalter left Shreve in for the seventh. He got out of the inning with an assist from Josh Bell, who for some strange reason decided to steal second base. Tomas Nido’s throw was to the wrong side of the bag, but Bell was still out by a large margin.

Then, in a move straight out of the Terry Collins playbook, Showalter had Shreve stay in the game to start the eighth inning because a non-descript lefty batter was leading off for the Nationals. It’s one thing to play matchups with a fresh reliever to face Soto. It’s another matter entirely to have a lefty reliever stay in for a third partial inning because the batter hits from the left side.

Shreve gave up a base hit and was promptly removed from the game.

Then the defense let the Mets down. More specifically, two poor throws by Pete Alonso played an instrumental role in the Nats scoring three runs. Alonso weakly underhanded a ball to the plate, allowing the first run of the inning to score, which tied the game. Then Alonso threw weakly to second base on a potential double play ball. The weak throw was bad enough. But it was also wide of the bag, too, which kept the Mets from getting even one out on the play. After Soto hit into a force play with the runner out at the plate, Nelson Cruz, who homered in the first inning, broke the tie with a two-run single.

Carrasco was terrific in the game. While he allowed the first-inning run, he finished by retiring the last 15 batters he faced. He had a good fastball but ended up throwing twice as many off-speed pitches, which allowed him to keep batters off balance all game long. Carrasco fanned five, gave up two hits and did not walk a batter. It was exactly what the Mets hoped to get from him.

Both Mets runs scored in the fourth inning. Francisco Lindor led off with a homer and later in the inning Mark Canha drove home Eduardo Escobar with a single. It was the Mets’ only hit with runners in scoring position, as the team was 1-8 in that key statistic.

18 comments on “Gut Reaction: Nationals 4, Mets 2 (4/10/22)

  • TexasGusCC

    You jinxed Showalter with that flattering article today, Brian. Showalter had a bad game today. First, starting after the Nido bunt hit, he let Nimmo swing away. If you’re going to bunt with merely man on first and no outs, then bunting with first and second and no outs is a slam dunk. But, he took off the bunt and Nimmo struck out. Oh well.

    Then in the eighth inning, while he left Shreve in there, my problem was he left the statue of Robinson Cano in there too to play second base. So, Franco’s base hit was just out of the reach of a ball that was at most a few feet away. That could have been a double play if Guillorme is in there or if McNeil is back in his position. In the eighth inning, Cano has no business being on the field with a one run lead. That opened the floodgates for Alonso to show us that his head wasn’t in the game today. Yes, Alonso had his head up his butt today on the field during the 8th inning.

    I have always felt that managers and coaches are underestimated and their ability to affect the game is not noticed. Well, I noticed it today. Hard to understand sitting Davis so much in favor of Cano to begin with. As I cannot see this management if this was a playoff game, is it fair to say that you manage differently during the season?

    • Brian Joura

      I’m a well-known jinx.

      There’s been no shortage of praise from GKR about Cano’s defensive strengths. Funny, they never harp on his lack of range. Then again I haven’t heard them mention his power outage, either.

  • Footballhead

    Excellent points made by TexasGusCC regarding Showalter’s bad game today. In such a close game; when the hitters aren’t doing their job, then defense becomes that much more important.

    It was disheartening to hear the reference to Terry Collins, although I didn’t think keeping Chasen Shreve around was that egregious of a move. Keeping Cano out at 2B was (and will always be) a major error.

    Very refreshing how three of the four starting pitchers performed in this series.

  • Aging Bull

    Also agree with our CC friend. I also wondered why Alonso was at 1B in the first place, with Dom as DH.

    I am hoping that Buck is trying out different combinations and also testing the capabilities of the new team. I thought it was interesting that he had Max face the meat of the lineup the third time through and that he had SRF finish off the game. It’s a long season and IMHO, a lot of boundaries are being set now. If, in a big game down the road, Buck puts Dom at 1B and Pete as DH, Alonso has nothing to say. If Chasen becomes an end of inning LOOGY, then he’s got no argument. When he takes out Cano in the 6th inning, Cano has no pushback. I drank the Kool Aid, Buck ain’t missing a thing.

    The test will be to see if the mistakes of today continue.

  • Metsense

    Gut Reaction: Alonso went from yesterday’s hero to today’s goat. Williams did his job but Alonso didn’t. If he made the two plays then the Mets would have won 2-1. Championship teams made those plays. I’m satisfied with the Washington series but disappointed that they had an opportunity for a sweep and literally threw it away.

    • TexasGusCC

      Metsense, hearing Keith Hernandez’s explanation how on the play at the plate you need to barehand it and zip it home, and on the force at second how Alonso lollipopped the throw, are you worried about his defensive confidence to begin with?

      • Metsense

        Alonso is a harder worker when it comes to defensive and should be rewarded by playing first base 50-60% of the time. But Smith is a better defensive first baseman and should play 40-50% time with Alonso being the DH. Smith should be out there in a close game if Alonso bat remains in the lineup. I’m not sure how the rule works.

        • TexasGusCC

          For the record, I didn’t have a problem with Alonso being on the field at that point because I agree with you and he has a future with this team. Cano on the other hand, really doesn’t and he should not have been. And what’s with Cano batting third? More Rojas BS?

          • Metsense

            I didn’t like Cano batting third either. McNeil would have been a better choice.
            Cano made the last out in the 7th so Guillorme should have replace in the 8th.
            Cano is getting too more importance in the early season.

  • Wobbit

    Bunting Nido was correct, if if he had failed. He’s a rally killer (DP) waiting to happen, and had two previous poor at bats.

    Against the LH, bunting Nimmo would have been the better play with RH Lindor next to get at least one run home. I really can’t find much rationale for Buck to not do that. One run there and the Mets go up two…

    Definitely JD should have hit for Cano against Doolittle. Furthermore, Cano probably needed a day off after two very good games, certainly an early exit.

    Buck had to learn something today about putting the best defense on the field late in a close game. Alonso is off to a terrible start defensively (terrific start at the plate), very clumsy in game one. He may object, but his defensive liabilities are getting hard to ignore. Might as well use Dom if he’s already in the lineup. So easy to switch out Pete and Dom… Pete’s gotta stat recognizing the needs of the team.

    Next game I sit Nimmo, Cano, Smith against Suarez. Play Marte, JD (in LF), Canha, Lindor, Alonso, Escobar, McCann and McNeil, or maybe Guillorme, who might get a jump from facing a lefty (counter intuitive). All lefties on deck for Wheeler and Nola.

    • TexasGusCC

      Very correct regarding Cano against Doolittle. All winter we heard how effective Cano was against righties and was worth the roster spot for that reason. Showalter had a bad game and it cost his team a win. Very Collins-like managing.

  • TexasGusCC

    I know I have posted quite a bit on this game, but I think this is important to add and I just saw it:

    From Anthony DiComo (@AnthonyDiComo) April 10, 2022:

    Pete Alonso: “I thought I made the right decision, thought I made the right play. … When I go out there, I don’t want to let anyone down, especially not anyone in the locker room. But after not making the play there, I let the team down. And as a result, we lost the game.”

  • Wobbit

    Pete means well; we know that. But that same body that makes him a prodigious force also omits him defensively. He is top-heavy and tends to “topple” in most stressful situations. Many of his ground ball efforts end with him on the ground, and even close tag plays, like in the opening game pickoff from McCann, he leaves his feet. He leaves his feet because they are too slow, not nimble enough. The best first baseman have great feet.

    Even running the bases, Pete tends to fall forward, exhorting his lower body to keep up. He can change by learning great footwork (Keith) and doing yoga to add flexibility, but those big muscles gotta take up space on the frame, and that ain’t gonna change. Pete will just have to eventually come to grips with being the archetypal DH.

    • Aging Bull

      Your comment that Pete leaves his feet because they are too slow is quite insightful. I noticed that he was often diving after balls and wondered why and you’ve cracked the code for me.

  • JamesTOB

    All the comments today were very informative and insightful. Thanks to Metsense, TexasGusCC, Wobbit, Aging Bull, Footballhead, and Brian of course.

  • T.J.

    I second the great comments.

    My two cents – I was fine with Buck’s pitching moves, it’s early, Carrasco limited, Shreve slightly better shot to retire lefty…Cano doesn’t belong anywhere near the #3 spot in the line up, and has no business being on the field in the 8th inning with a 1 run lead. Pete, yes he works hard and is the future of the team, but he is a defensive liability…I’m not sure if the rules allow a DH switch at that point…Pete DH and Dom in the field for the final 6 outs.

    • Metsense

      Rule clarification: If Smith replaced Alsono at first baseman defensively then Alonso would be out of the game and the pitcher would bat in Alonso position in the batting order.

      • T.J.

        Thanks Metsense. So, in “normal” circumstances, meaning in this case when the top two game ending relievers are available, I would be okay with losing Alonso’s bat for Dom’s glove for 6 outs. Given that neither Diaz or Lugo were available, I can live with leaving Pete out there as his bat still could make the difference if the B team relievers failed.

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