Skip to content

Instant analysis: Nats 8, Mets 2

Apr 3, 2014, 4:32 PM EST

USA Today Sports Images USA Today Sports Images

GAME IN A NUTSHELL: Having already won the first two games at Citi Field, and with Jordan Zimmermann a late scratch due to a nasty stomach virus, the Nationals had to feel like anything positive that happened today would be the cherry on top of a successful season-opening series. Well, this turned into a whopper of a hot fudge sundae, because the Nats once again did everything right in trouncing the Mets to complete a series sweep.

Tanner Roark wasn’t fazed at all by his emergency assignment. Though he gave up two quick runs in the first, the right-hander was fantastic after that, completing six solid innings to put himself in line for the win. Roark’s teammates did the rest, pounding out eight runs and 13 hits off New York’s pitching staff. It took a little while to get going against Zack Wheeler, but the Nationals managed three runs in six innings off the impressive young right-hander.

The real damage, once again, came against the Mets’ beleaguered bullpen. Ryan Zimmerman’s 4-hit afternoon highlighted an all-around offensive effort, giving Matt Williams ample opportunity to breathe easy as he managed himself to a 3-0 record to begin his career.

HITTING HIGHLIGHT: There were no shortage of big hits in this game, and Zimmerman’s 4-hit afternoon (including a monster home run) was certainly impressive. But let’s highlight Danny Espinosa, whose performance was plenty significant itself. Given a chance to start at second base — something Williams intends to do with regularity — Espinosa showed the kind of hitting approach he displayed all spring and impressed team officials. Swinging left-handed, he clubbed two opposite-field doubles off the wall, then also struck another ball well to left-center field that was caught. It’s only one series, but Espinosa’s key walk on Monday and today’s hitting performance certainly suggests he has made some major adjustments since his demotion last season. That can only be considered a good thing for the Nationals.

PITCHING HIGHLIGHT: Roark was thrust into a tough spot, finding out this morning he would be starting a few hours later because of Zimmermann’s illness. But there are few pitchers who appear to deal with events like this better than Roark, who seems to shrug off everything and just goes out and pitches. He did just that today, battling back after a shaky bottom of the first. The right-hander needed a whopping 31 pitches to get through that frame, allowing two runs. But just when you thought he was destined for a short afternoon, Roark righted the ship. He needed only 64 pitches to complete five scoreless innings after that, another impressive effort from the young hurler who impressed so many during his rookie season in 2013.

KEY STAT: The Nationals scored 12 runs in 9 1/3 innings against Mets relievers during this series.

UP NEXT: After an impressive road sweep, the Nationals head back to D.C. for Friday’s much-anticipated home opener against the Braves. They’ll face one very big question, though: Who’s their starting pitcher? Will Jordan Zimmermann be good to go after getting scratched today with a stomach virus? If not, will Matt Williams go with the bullpen game, started by Craig Stammen? Either way, we know the Braves will send right-hander David Hale to the mound for the 1:05 p.m. tilt at Nationals Park.

  1. MicheleS - Apr 3, 2014 at 4:33 PM

    WOOOOO HOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!! 3-0.. ummm the mets bullpen.. geesh.. See you at the park this weekend!!!

    • natinalsgo - Apr 3, 2014 at 5:15 PM

      Yes yes yes.

  2. tcostant - Apr 3, 2014 at 4:34 PM

    SWEEP, Sweet. Can’t wait for tomorrow – no rain please!

  3. Danny - Apr 3, 2014 at 4:35 PM

    Brian Kenny has the Nats for 103 wins… A lil too optimistic for my liking.

    • natinalsgo - Apr 3, 2014 at 5:16 PM

      The SHREDDER!

  4. Eric - Apr 3, 2014 at 4:39 PM

    Three come-from-behind victories for a sweep with run totals of 9, 5, and 7 to start the season.

    I love it…!

    Big test starts tomorrow…I think we’re up to it…

    • Danny - Apr 3, 2014 at 4:39 PM

      Like out chances to take 2/3 with Stras and Zimm.

    • tcostant - Apr 3, 2014 at 4:41 PM

      This team already reminds me a lot of 2012. :)

  5. natsfan1a - Apr 3, 2014 at 4:46 PM

    Atta way, Ro-ark!

    p.s. I think the genius switch is stuck in the “on” position. :-)

  6. secretwasianman - Apr 3, 2014 at 4:47 PM

    Brian Kenny is a fool. I got us for 162 wins.

    • Section 222 - Apr 3, 2014 at 4:48 PM

      SWM is back? And he sounds optimistic. Cool!

    • thelatencn - Apr 3, 2014 at 4:52 PM

      Well, we are on pace for that.

  7. secretwasianman - Apr 3, 2014 at 4:52 PM

    I am and thank you. I have finally learned that’s its a marathon, not a race.

    GO NATS

    • Eric - Apr 3, 2014 at 5:01 PM

      Minor quibble: a marathon IS a race…just a very, very, very long one ;)

  8. secretwasianman - Apr 3, 2014 at 4:55 PM

    After suffering through an awful NFL season I am ALL IN.

  9. naterialguy - Apr 3, 2014 at 4:57 PM

    Nats only undefeated team in the NL

  10. pdowdy83 - Apr 3, 2014 at 5:32 PM

    Gotta love all of the 2nd guessing for playing Zimmerman and Espinosa today while giving Rendon an off day and they combined for 6 hits. Just let the man manage already. It’s been 3 games and every day there has been a ridiculous amount of criticism and 2nd guessing. This team is good. They should not fall off a cliff with 1 regular out of the lineup. Especially considering Mclouth and Espinosa would be regulars on a lot of teams.

    • alexva6 - Apr 3, 2014 at 5:42 PM

      you must be new here

      • pdowdy83 - Apr 3, 2014 at 5:47 PM

        No I just quit commenting as much because of all the negativity. ;-)

  11. Section 222 - Apr 3, 2014 at 5:34 PM

    Surprised he went with Det today. Even if JZnn is ready to go tomorrow, he may not be strong enough to go 6 or 7 innings. I guess Stammen will be the long guy, but replacing him with a lefty might have been advisable. Still, I’d be shocked if he isn’t ready since you’d want to have Det ready to start or pitch 3 innings in a bullpen day. Was there any postgame discussion of this?

  12. iconicwoodencap - Apr 3, 2014 at 5:35 PM

    I’m sure my post doesn’t belong here, and may be found somewhere else, but I was so tickled to see that Gio’s Tater Trot was, in fact, the fastest of the day…

    http://tatertrottracker.com/

    • NatsLady - Apr 3, 2014 at 5:52 PM

      Thanks for the link, that was fun to read.

  13. Eric - Apr 3, 2014 at 5:48 PM

    Just saw the replay of Zim’s homer… MAN did he tag that one.

  14. David Proctor - Apr 3, 2014 at 5:48 PM

    I was also surprised. I think what Matt said in the postgame that he didn’t want to have to use a lot of pitchers today, he only had to use three. That leaves everyone except Det available for tomorrow. Blevins can go multiple innings too (he often went 2 innings in Oakland).

    If JZimm can start, I could see: 5 innings from him, 2 from Stammen, then Clippard/Soriano if we have a lead or Blevins/Barrett if we don’t. Maybe Storen in there somewhere.

    If he can’t start, I’m not really sure what we’d do. 4 from Stammen and 2 from Blevins?

    • zmunchkin - Apr 3, 2014 at 6:04 PM

      I did not hear the interview but when I heard on the radio that he did a double switch I was thinking he might have wanted Det to pitch 7-9. Was there any reference to whether that was part of his plan?

      And my betting is that JZimm is ready tomorrow. If not, any reason why it can’t be Taylor Jordan?

      • David Proctor - Apr 3, 2014 at 6:05 PM

        Jordan pitched a simulated game to have him ready for 4/6. He’d be on short rest.

      • JW - Apr 3, 2014 at 6:44 PM

        Taylor Jordan should be available for at least an inning or two tomorrow. It’s likely the day he would be throwing a bullpen anyway in preparation for his start on Sunday.

  15. letswin3 - Apr 3, 2014 at 6:17 PM

    Some positive reinforcement for Danny today …. I will admit to being impressed. He hit 3 rockets (one was caught) with his new approach. The best part for me was that not one swing looked like that one where he used to uppercut a pitch that was 12 inches off the plate (or bounced in the dirt) with enough thrust to throw his back out of place and have to be tested for a concussion. If he sees that the new approach brings positive results, he will start feeling better about using it every day in every at bat. This guy doesn’t have to hit 275 or 20 dingers to be very valuable, just enough to remain a viable option … his glove is his greatest asset, and his hitting has to only be good enough to let him remain in the game. I don’t want to get optimistic yet, but the Nats are probably going to need a second baseman next year if Zim moves to first and Rendon slides over to third, and Danny could be a no-brainer IF he keeps this up.

  16. iconicwoodencap - Apr 3, 2014 at 6:28 PM

    Not sure of the etiquette of this, but hope it’s ok. So sorry if it’s not…. I have one extra ticket for Friday’s home opener that I would love to see go to an interested NI. Section 202 row C. kae8297 at yahoo dot com

  17. Sec 3 My Sofa - Apr 3, 2014 at 10:04 PM

    Man, I wish we could delete stuff ourselves, sometimes.

    The ACTUAL, no-really, correct link to the spreadsheet for the NI BBS

    This time for sure!

  18. rabbit433 - Apr 4, 2014 at 6:45 AM

    I am really impressed that Desi is finally hitting the ball. What a difference when he cuts down on strikeouts.

    • dgourds - Apr 4, 2014 at 9:07 AM

      Did you mean Danny?

Archives

ON THE RADIO

As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2014 schedule (subject to change)...

MON: 12:45 p.m.
TUE: 2:30 p.m.
WED: 4:30 p.m.
THU: 2:30 p.m.
FRI: 1:30 p.m., 5:30 p.m.
SAT: 10:30 a.m.

*All times Eastern. You can also listen to the station on 94.3 FM, 92.7 FM and online at ESPN980.com. Click here for past audio clips.

Follow us on Twitter