It’s hard to tell what is more deflating: The Mets making an average pitcher look like Tom Seaver? Hitting into five double plays? Or, perhaps, simply getting pounded by Major League Baseball’s worst team?
It’s a difficult choice, they all look good, but one thing is certain. The Mets were awful in tonight’s 7-1 loss to the Nationals.
In three of the first four innings, the lead-off hitter reached base, only to be erased on a ground ball by the following batter. First it was Fernando Tatis, then Emil Brown, and then Wilson Valdez. The latter two being players who, in all likelihood, should not be in the majors.
Then there’s the bizarre double play in the fourth.
Luis Castillo walked for the second straight plate appearence to open the fourth. Emil Brown then hit a fly ball to Elijah Dukes in right field where Dukes attempted to make a sliding catch, but it was ruled a trap.
Castillo, as he was supposed to, held up between first and second looking to see if Dukes had made the catch. Brown, running hard, passed him by and was called out. Meanwhile, Nick Johnson who received the cut-off throw from Dukes, had the wherewithal to know there was still a force at second base. He threw over and Castillo was out.
After letting John Lannan off the hook several times, he eventually settled in and pitched very well. The same can’t be said for John Maine who gave up home runs to Dukes, Johnson and Adam Dunn. He was lifted after four innings of work.
For their part, Ken Takahashi and Fernando Nieve did their jobs well and kept the Nationals quiet in their combined four innings of work.
Nieve, the new man to the bullpen, looked sharp. While not terribly over-powering, he threw strikes, hit his spots well and worked efficiently.
The Mets lone run came in the eighth inning when Dukes flubbed a flare shot hit by Omir Santos. David Wright and Fernando Tatis had both previously reached on singles. The error allowed Wright to score.
Livan Herandez gets the call tomorrow and will need to be a stopper for the Mets, who have now lost four of their last five. The Nationals will counter with Craig Stammen. First pitch is scheduled for 1:35 PM at Nationals Park. Second pitch, shortly after.
Mark Krulish is a contributor to HowBoutThemMets.com and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org