Takeaways from the Mets 8-7 win over the Nationals on Tuesday…
The Mets came from behind to win again in the second game of their three-game series with the Nationals by the score of 8-7 on Tuesday night in Washington. Here are my takeaways from the dramatic win…
Stymied early, but a late explosion.
For the Nationals, this was hopeful joy which crashed and burned in the hands of their two best relievers.
For the Mets, it was another display of resiliency and their relentless hunger to win in even the most dire circumstances.
The Mets hit a lot of balls hard on Tuesday night, but they went for naught against Jordan Zimmermann, who had a clutch performance for the Nationals and did all he could do in what was a must-win game for Washington.
The Mets had a good shot in the sixth inning to do some damage against Zimmermann when Curtis Granderson slugged a one out triple to center, but Zimmermann buttoned up to fan Yoenis Cespedes, and then Matt Thornton induced a flyball from Daniel Murphy to end the threat.
Meanwhile, the Nationals had no problem with Matt Harvey right from the beginning of the game. With two outs and Anthony Rendon at first, Harvey allowed a single to Yunel Escobar and an RBI single to Clint Robinson. Then, Ian Desmond followed up with a run scoring single to play Escobar to put the Mets behind by two runs.
Then, after the Mets pulled back within one thanks to a solo home run from David Wright, Rendon singled the left field to plate Michael Taylor to make it 3-1.
And thanks to a comedy of errors in the sixth inning – one of which was from Harvey – the Nationals plated four runs thanks to a horrible miscue by Cespedes in centerfield when he overran a single with the bases loaded, clearing the bases and leaving the Mets in the dust.
If there was anything positive to come out of the early part of this game, it was that the Mets drove Zimmermann’s pitch count up early, forcing Matt Williams to dip into a beleaguered bullpen in the seventh inning.
It was that point the Mets got their offense rolling with six runs (all on two outs) to tie the game, thanks to six walks and a big three-run double from Cespedes, who did what he could do to make up for his blunder in the sixth inning.
Then in the eighth inning, Kirk Nieuwenhuis appeared with two outs and nobody on against Nationals closer Jonathan Papelbon, and he hit the biggest home run of his life to get the Mets ahead.
Tyler Clippard and Jeurys Familia took care of the rest to seal the series win, and complete a remarkable comeback in a brilliant display of resiliency.
A dark night for Matt Harvey.
Needless to say, Harvey would probably like to take a mulligan on this game, and this week for that matter. He had something to prove on Tuesday in the biggest start of his career, and he did anything but do that at all.
Harvey was pretty much ineffective right off the bat in this one thanks to what appeared to be an unwillingness to mix in his off-speed pitches and an attempt to just blow the ball by every hitter. It was almost as if he was overthrowing and certainly not locating any of his pitches early. That cost the Mets as it put the Mets in an early 2-0 and 3-1 hole.
He did settle down after the second inning, but he pretty much melted down in the sixth inning when he committed an error on a bunt play and gave up a run scoring single turned four runs for Washington.
It’s hard to say he wasn’t focused, but certainly the approach to his outing was questionable at best, and the results were proof of that. It would be difficult for Harvey to prove the self-induced distraction impacted his preparation and thought process for this start, but only he knows that for sure.
It’s just a very unfortunate conclusion to this ill-timed circus he and his agent created this week. And certainly not the way he would want to go out this season, either, if this was indeed his last start. Fortunately the club bailed him out, but this was unquestionably a forgetful experience for the right-hander.
More fight, and a forced meltdown.
The Mets were more or less shutdown against Zimmermann, who really pitched well once again. They never really got anything going against him short of Granderson’s triple and Wright’s home run.
But even though they were down by six late, they didn’t quit, which may have been the best thing to happen on Tuesday in what was a totally lost night for the Mets.
They cracked the Nationals bullpen in the seventh inning thanks to a single from David Wright, a two out walk from Michael Conforto, an RBI single from Wilmer Flores and a bases loaded walk from Curtis Granderson to bring Cespedes up as the tying run. He then stroked a bases clearing double to bring the Mets back within a run, remarkably.
Then, Wright walked to load the bases, which brought Lucas Duda to the plate, who drew a bases loaded walk to get the Mets even at seven.
That was all for the moment, but they scored all six runs with two outs, thanks in part to six walks.
Then, an unlikely hero came to the plate with two outs and nobody on against Jonathan Papelbon in the eight inning: Kirk Nieuwenhuis.
He belted the home run of his life over the right field stands to put the Mets in front and crush any hope for the Nationals in their quest to close the gap on the Mets.
This was a wildly entertaining and dramatic ballgame in which the Mets found a way to win. They were lucky, but sometimes teams have to be lucky in order to be good.
The Mets are both.
Back to fou…wait a sec…
Today’s discussion, be it during the telecast or in social media, was primarily about Harvey and his circus until he left the game. Nobody was really about the Mets and their need to take the Nationals down and win the series until he was out of the game.
Who would have thought Harvey leaving would serve as the best medicine for the club? Seems a little ironic, doesn’t it?
This was just a remarkable game. It tested everything about the Mets, from their will to win, their resiliency, their character, and their ability to come together and rally around a distraction to win a necessary game.
They passed all of those tests with flying colors, and sealed their biggest series of the season.
Other notes from Tuesday:
The Mets completed their 34th come-from-behind win on Tuesday, improving to 23-23 in one-run games and 58-11 when scoring four or more runs in a game.
Cespedes has 11 RBI in his last 7 games. He’s hit three doubles, two triples, and five home runs.
The Mets starting rotation has a 7.63 ERA in the club’s last seven games, including 17 shutout innings from Bartolo Colon.
The Mets bullpen turned in 3 2/3 innings of scoreless relief, capped by Familia’s 38th save of the year in a league-high 54 games finished. They’ve delivered 9 1/3 scoreless innings in this series.
The Mets have won five straight games against the Nationals, and six of their last seven against Washington overall.