May 17, 2014, 12:24 PM EDT
The Nationals have had their way with the Mets so far this season, sweeping the opening series at Citi Field and then hanging on to win last night on South Capitol Street. But the dominance extends beyond that. Indeed, today the Nats will be seeking their 10th consecutive win over New York, a streak that dates all the way back to last August 31, when Dan Haren was rocked during an 11-3 loss at Nationals Park.
Gio Gonzalez will be the man on the mound today trying to extend the streak and trying to continue his winning ways against this club. In nine career starts against the Mets, he’s 6-1 with a 2.45 ERA (not to mention a 1-hitter at Citi Field late last season).
Matt Willams is going with nearly the same lineup as last night, the only change Nate McLouth taking over left field for Scott Hairston, with right-hander Bartolo Colon on the mound for New York. We’ve seen how good the Nats have been against lefties. It remains to be seen whether this right-handed-heavy lineup can be as successful against a right-handed pitcher.
It’s a beautiful afternoon at the ballpark. Updates to come…
NEW YORK METS at WASHINGTON NATIONALS
Where: Nationals Park
Gametime: 4:05 p.m. EDT
TV: MASN, MLB.tv
Radio: 106.7 FM, 1500 AM, XM 185, MLB.com
Weather: Partly cloudy, 66 degrees, Wind 7 mph LF to RF
CF Denard Span
3B Anthony Rendon
RF Jayson Werth
C Wilson Ramos
SS Ian Desmond
2B Danny Espinosa
1B Tyler Moore
LF Nate McLouth
LHP Gio Gonzalez
LF Eric Young Jr.
2B Daniel Murphy
3B David Wright
RF Chris Young
1B Eric Campbell
CF Juan Lagares
C Anthony Recker
SS Wilmer Flores
RHP Bartolo Colon
HP Ed Hickox
1B Jon Byrne
2B Lance Barksdale
3B Dana DeMuth (cc)
4:06 p.m. — We are underway with a ball outside from Gio Gonzalez to Eric Young Jr. The Nats are wearing their blue stars and stripes jerseys today for the first time this season, in honor of Military Appreciation Weekend.
4:25 p.m. — And the top of the first just ended, the Mets having scored three runs and Gio Gonzalez having thrown a whopping 37 pitches. So make it 10 times in 42 games now that the Nats have given up at least three runs in the first inning, the second straight time Gio has done it. He opened the week in Oakland with a 2.97 ERA. Five innings later, that number has skyrocketed to 4.50. U-G-L-Y. Nats trail 3-0.
4:40 p.m. — Hey, it’s a scoreless top of the second from Gio Gonzalez! He did allow a one-out single to Daniel Murphy but quickly erased him with a 6-4-3 double play from David Wright. As this was all going on, I did some research. The Nats, as stated above, have given up three or more runs in the first inning 10 times this season. MLB’s 29 other clubs combined have done it only 58 times. That’s an average of twice per team. No team has done it more than four times. Except for the Nats. Who are supposed to have the sport’s best rotation. Bizarre.
4:49 p.m. — The Nats gave themselves a chance to do something in the bottom of the second, getting one-out singles from Ian Desmond and Danny Espinosa. But Tyler Moore grounded into a tailor-made, 6-4-3 double play to kill the rally, the club’s first at-bat with a man in scoring position today. It remains 3-0 after two.
5:03 p.m. — And it continues. Juan Lagares crushed a 92-mph fastball from Gio into the Red Porch in the top of the third, making this a 5-0 game. That’s now 12 total runs allowed by Gonzalez in his last two starts, matching a career high.
5:11 p.m. — Between innings, they played that “Happy” video on the scoreboard with lots of movie clips of dancing people. It includes Gio Gonzalez singing and dancing to the song. Probably not the best day to show that, huh? Making matters worse, Gio got a chance to hit for himself in the bottom of the inning, with a man on second and nobody out. And he popped up the bunt. He definitely wasn’t “Happy” as he walked back to the dugout after that. And now, Craig Stammen is in from the bullpen to pitch the fourth. Weird stuff here. It’s still 5-0, Mets.
5:29 p.m. — Desmond breathes some life into this otherwise silent crowd. He crushed a 2-run homer to left in the bottom of the fourth, his sixth of the season. It’s 5-2 now as we move to the fifth.
5:36 p.m. — Six up and six down for Stammen so far. He’s doing exactly what the entire Nats bullpen has done so well this season: Giving their teammates a chance to mount a comeback. We’ll see if actually happens today, but this game remains within reach, still 5-2 heading to the bottom of the fifth.
5:44 p.m. — And now Stammen hits for himself in the bottom of the fifth. Matt Williams is going to have a ton of pinch-hitters to choose from later in this game. Then again, I’m not sure anybody off the bench would have doubled to deep right field the way Stammen just did. Craig actually is a good hitter, a career .200 hitter with seven doubles and 10 RBI in 99 plate appearances. Not bad. What is bad, though, is the rest of the Nats lineup today: They’re now 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position. So it remains a 5-2 deficit heading to the sixth.
5:54 p.m. — A comparison of Nats pitchers today for you … Gio Gonzalez: 5 runs allowed in 3 innings on 84 pitches. Craig Stammen: 0 runs allowed in 3 innings on 35 pitches. Slight difference.
6:00 p.m. — Wow, Juan Lagares just Jayson Werth’d Jayson Werth, robbing a home run with a spectacular catch at the 402-foot sign in center field. What a play. Still 5-2 Mets after six.
6:11 p.m. — Another scoreless inning of relief for Stammen, giving him four on the afternoon. What a job he’s done. Now, if only his teammates could get something going against Colon. It’s still 5-2 at the stretch.
6:29 p.m. — The Nats are running out of time, down to their last six outs. And Colon is back to the mound for the bottom of the eighth. Truth be told, they’d probably rather see the Mets bullpen at this point.
6:36 p.m. — Make it three outs to go. Colon has retired 11 in a row, and he might just take the mound for the ninth in search of the complete game.
6:44 p.m. — Nope, it’s Jenrry Mejia on the mound in the ninth. Werth, Ramos and Desmond due up for the Nats, who need three runs to tie, four to win.
6:54 p.m. — No comeback today. Nats lose 5-2 and miss a chance to take over first place in the NL East.
NL EAST STANDINGS
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As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2015 schedule (subject to change)...
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