Takeaways from the Mets 2-0 loss to the Nationals on Saturday…
For the second time in 2015, the Mets were no-hit at Citi Field, this time by Max Scherzer in a 2-0 loss to the Nationals as they were swept in their doubleheader on Saturday. Here are my takeaways from the loss…
So much for a pulse.
With most of their backups in the lineup and some of whom were out of position, the Mets were tasked with beating Max Scherzer who showed last Monday against the Reds he is razor sharp and on top of his game.
And he was once again on top of his game, to say the least, throwing his second no-hitter of the year and the second no-hitter at Citi Field in 2015, the last thrown by Chris Heston of the Giants in June.
Scherzer was brilliant and the Mets just had no chance whatsoever against him on Saturday. He moved his fastball and slider up and down, pitched backwards and forwards, and had the Mets utterly clueless right out of the gate in this one.
He was crisp, in rhythm, was electrifying and utterly dominating. He should have had a perfect game, but was victimized by a poor play by Yunel Escobar in the sixth inning which allowed Kevin Plawecki to reach base, the Mets only baserunner of the night.
As much of a mismatch as this was for this Mets lineup, Scherzer deserves all the credit in the world for as good of a performance as anyone has had in 2015, and perhaps among anyone who has toed the rubber in baseball history. He was as close to perfect has anyone could be, and had it in his reach if not for an avoidable error.
He should be congratulated as much as the Mets should be criticized harshly for what they’ve produced over the last week.
They had Matt Harvey going who was nearly as scintillating as Scherzer, although he allowed four hits in his six innings of work. But he also allowed an unearned run thanks to a poorly played groundball by the miscast third baseman in Kelly Johnson in the sixth inning, who let an easy groundball play him off the bat of Michael Taylor. Then Clint Robinson singled Taylor to third with one out, and Met killer Wilson Ramos drove Taylor in with a sac fly.
Hansel Robles relieved Harvey in the seventh inning and dug the Mets into an even deeper hole when he allowed a solo home run to Dan Uggla.
It’s just gone that way for the Mets over the last week, as these abbreviated lineups, bullpen tryouts, and abbreviated starts have cost the Mets wins and potentially home field advantage in the playoffs.
Sure, the Mets were no-hit, and yes the Mets backups were dominated by a premier starting pitcher, but the Mets just can’t hit right now.
This is reminiscent of those pre-July 24 games when a two-run deficit was too much for them to deal with.
The stink of it is, Terry Collins has insisted they’re trying to win these games, when it’s pretty clear they’re not. After all, he ran a very meager lineup out against one of the best pitchers in baseball.
There’s no life, no energy, no nothing with this club right now, which is evident in their five-game losing streak heading into the final day of the season.
I totally get how rest and health are the priority right now. And yes, home field advantage can be a little overrated in some cases. It’s understandable they would be dealing with a hangover from their clincher last Saturday. And as athletes, it’s hard to get the blood flowing for games which mean very little.
But they’re not really competing anymore in games that still count for the records and certainly in their seeding in the playoffs. And if nothing else, that’s just disappointing to see.
The concern is less about home field and more about how they’re playing, even with these abbreviated lineups and programs being put out there. Hopefully that begins to change.
A bittersweet #HarveyDay.
The good news is, Harvey was brilliant and mostly dominant in his six innings of work.
The bad news is, his dominance wasn’t close to enough.
But if anything, he showed is is ready and sharp to begin his journey in the playoffs, which is looking like a game three start against the Dodgers in the Division Series.
His fastball was electric and often dominating. He was able to go up the ladder and down, bend his slider in and keep the Nationals completely off-balanced through his entire outing. 11 of the 18 outs he recorded were via the strikeouts and with relative ease as well.
The silver lining to a horrid night for the Mets was Harvey finished his season with three consecutive outstanding starts, showing he can be a horse for the Mets to ride through the month of October.
What’s it going to be?
Do the Mets really want to go into the playoffs with this level of sluggishness? They’re going to get one more crack at righting this ship which has turned very, very uninspiring over the last week on Sunday afternoon.
Perhaps this embarrassing loss will wake the Mets up from this malaise. For a team a day away from turning the page and heading to the postseason, the Mets need to wake up, and fast.
Other notes from Saturday:
Scherzer threw the seventh no-hitter in baseball in 2015, became the first pitcher to throw two no-hitters in the same season since Nolan Ryan in 1973, and only the fifth pitcher to do it in baseball history.
Nine of the final ten Mets went down via the strikeout – they fanned 17 times in total.
The Mets have scored just one run in their last 35 innings, and have been shutout in two of their last three games.
Per Elias, the last time the Mets had two starting pitchers with two double-digit strikeout games was on April 17, 1974 at Shea Stadium against the Phillies (Jon Matlack and Jerry Koosman).
The Mets struck out 18 Nationals on Saturday night.
The 35 strikeouts between the two clubs are the most in a single game in major league history.
Hansel Robles has now allowed eight home runs in 54 innings this season.
Harvey has failed to win 19 career starts in which he has allowed one or no runs, the most such starts for a pitcher in his first 65 career games in the last century.
The Mets have lost 14 of their last 20 games at Citi Field, and are 16-18 at home since the All-Star break.
This was the third game in history that the Mets have been held without a hit or a walk.
The Mets and Dodgers will be the first playoff matchup in baseball history in which both teams were no-hit twice in the same season.
List of no-hitters thrown against the Mets
June 30, 1962 Sandy Koufax at Los Angeles-NL
June 21, 1964 (G2) Jim Bunning (perfect game) vs. Philadelphia
September 20, 1969 Bob Moose vs. Pittsburgh
October 2, 1972 (G1) Bill Stoneman at Montreal
August 24, 1975 (G2) Ed Halicki at San Francisco
September 8, 1993 Darryl Kile at Houston
June 9, 2015 Chris Heston vs. San Francisco
October 3, 2015 Max Scherzer vs. Washington