By Matt Krysz
The stars seemed aligned once again for the Mets on Monday evening. The monsoon-like storm subsided and the sun came out. The Nationals came limping into town off of a 3-7 homestand (three of those losses at the hands of the Mets).
The Mets got two runs early thanks to RBIs from Todd Frazier in the 1st and 3rd innings. Self-inflicted wounds by D.C. in the 6th led to two more runs. Asdrubal Cabrera’s 2-run home run in the 7th pushed the Mets’ lead to 6-1.
Jacob deGrom was on the bump and he was dealing. DeGrom was cruising through seven innings limiting the Nats to a single run while striking out 12.
The Mets were rolling right along with the game firmly in hand and were just six outs away from improving to 4-0 against the Nationals in 2018.
The 8th inning was catastrophic for the Mets. DeGrom was pulled after he allowed two men to reach. Mickey Callaway was going to his prized bullpen to close out the Nats.
Seth Lugo relieved deGrom and promptly walked Howie Kendrick on four pitches loading the bases for Bryce Harper.
Jerry Blevins came in to match lefty against lefty with Harper. Nonetheless, Harper muscled an up-and-in fastball into right field, driving in two and cutting the Mets lead to 6-3.
Callaway made yet another pitching change bringing in A.J. Ramos. Ramos fanned Ryan Zimmerman only to then issue a bases-loaded walk to Matt Reynolds. The Mets now led 6-4.
Closer Jeurys Familia was brought in for a four-out save. Wilmer Difo’s base hit drove in two runs and tied the game for Washington. After plunking Moises Sierra, Familia walked Michael A. Taylor to force in the lead run for the Nationals.
Hansel Robles would only add insult to injury by giving up a solo home run Howie Kendrick in the top of the ninth inning. That made the score 8-6 Nationals.
Cabrera reached base for the Mets in the bottom of the 9th and Michael Conforto represented the tying run. Cabrera was thrown out at third base trying to advance on a passed ball. It was a total blunder by Cabrera, as there was no need for him to try and advance as he was already in scoring position and Conforto was the tying run.
The Mets fell to the Nationals 8-6 in a sickening manner. The bullpen’s meltdown was the most disturbing part of the evening. The unit failed to locate and throw strikes in the most dire of times.
Losing to the Nationals in this manner will test the Mets and Mickey Callaway’s resolve. The Mets made a statement in Washington over a week ago, and they could make an even bigger statement by bouncing back this evening.
Met killer Gio Gonzalez matches up with the rejuvenated Zack Wheeler. Wednesday’s game is Tanner Roark versus Steven Matz.
The Mets will miss Strasburg and Scherzer in this series. Anything less than taking two out of three will be a colossal disappointment for the Mets.