Takeaways from the Mets 8-5 win over the Nationals on Monday…
The Mets came from behind to defeat the Nationals by the score of 8-5 on Monday at Nationals Park in Washington. Here are my takeaways from the win…
A rollercoaster of a win, led by the bullpen.
What a good game that went bad, that went incredibly well. Follow me?
The Mets jumped out to a fast 3-0 lead thanks to another awesome display of power. But they missed an opportunity in the first inning on a gift after Jayson Werth lost a flyball in the sun off the bat of Curtis Granderson, who ended up at third base with nobody out. But the Mets failed to get him in, and for a while it seemed awfully regrettable when Jon Niese coughed up the lead and had the Mets in a 5-3 hole in the fourth inning.
But the Mets rallied thanks to more extra-base power, quality situational hitting, and a huge bailout from the bullpen, spearheaded by a fantastic performance from Carlos Torres in long relief, and the rest of the holes plugged by Erik Goeddel, Dario Alvarez, Hansel Robles (who was dominant in his two innings of work), and Jeurys Familia. They each deserve a game ball, as they allowed the offense an opportunity to muscle their way to an absolute must-win.
Torres in particular deserves a lot of credit. He wasn’t perfect by any means, and nearly let the floodgates open, but he ended up doing a nice job in long relief to get this game into the middle innings.
A problem with Jon Niese.
For the third start in a row, Jon Niese allowed five runs in an inning. In the fourth with the Mets leading 3-0, he hung a curveball to Ryan Zimmerman, allowed an infield single to Yunel Escobar, then after issuing a walk to Ian Desmond, he allowed a grand slam to Met killer Wilson Ramos.
But Niese didn’t stop the bleeding with the grand slam.
He allowed an RBI double to Jayson Werth to plate Michael Taylor to extend Washington’s lead to 5-3.
Fortunately, Terry Collins pulled the plug on Niese’s outing – which in fairness, started off really good and promising over the first three innings – and handed the ball to Carlos Torres, who did an excellent job holding Washington down to allow the Mets to get back into this game.
But this is an ongoing problem with Niese, who once again put on an emotional display in the dugout upon being lifted. But Collins had no choice but to take the volatile Niese out of the game and contain things with a sudden two-run deficit and keep his club in the game, especially since it was clear by his own actions Niese lost his focus once again in the middle of an inning.
It’s difficult to see how the Mets can even project Niese to be in their postseason rotation if the quality of his performances do not improve. Fortunately, the Mets bats were alive and well in this one, but they cannot count on such a rally come October.
They’ve got the power.
While the Mets missed a golden opportunity in the first inning to steal a run from the Nationals, the club responded with three different solo home runs to take an early 3-0 lead: A home run from Michael Conforto, another one from Kelly Johnson, and then another one from Yoenis Cespedes.
They then used more extra-base muscle to fight their way back into a 5-5 tie thanks to an RBI double from Curtis Granderson in the fifth, a double from Cespedes and a sac fly from Travis d’Arnaud after Cespedes advanced to third on a balk by Max Scherzer in the sixth .
Then the Mets exploded for three runs against the Nationals bullpen thanks to a go-ahead RBI single by David Wright, a sac fly by Daniel Murphy, and an RBI double from Cespedes.
It was just a tremendous all-around showing for the Mets offense against one of the best – albeit struggling – pitchers in the game in Scherzer. They made a statement with their bats, and kept Washington from stepping in the door as a result.
How about that character?
The home run Niese allowed to Ramos was deflating to witness, but don’t tell that to the Mets, who once again showed off that character, didn’t hang their heads, and took it right back to the Nationals without blinking an eye.
It seems in years past the Mets would’ve been destined to lose this game after taking command early only to see their lead crumble down faster than the events could be processed. But its been a common denominator with this team all year long, and potentially their single greatest asset.
There is no quit, win or lose. They are no ever stunned by adverse conditions, or even heartbreaking losses. Today was proof of that once again in their relentless desire to come through with a big win.
Other notes from Monday:
Cespedes notched three more extra-base hits (two doubles and a home run). He has now homered in four of his last five games. He has nine extra-base hits during that span.
Monday marked the 33rd time the Mets have come from behind to win a game – they’re now 56-11 when scoring four or more runs in a game.
Wright notched his first game-winning RBI of the year with his seventh inning RBI single.
Familia earned his 37th save with a scoreless ninth inning.