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Instant analysis: Mets 6, Nats 1

Aug 5, 2014, 10:18 PM EDT

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GAME IN A NUTSHELL: Stuck in a disappointing stretch of baseball, the Nationals hoped to get back on track against a Mets club they have owned since late last season, winning 10 of their last 11 head-to-head meetings. Instead, they squandered a bunch of early opportunities against right-hander Zack Wheeler and couldn’t overcome Gio Gonzalez’s early and late struggles.

The Nationals had Wheeler on the ropes, putting seven total men on base in the second and third innings, yet managed only one run (on a wild pitch) after a couple of poor at-bats and some disastrous baserunning. That proved to be their best chance to do some damage and bounce back from Gonzalez’s first two innings, when he allowed two runs.

The game really turned in the seventh, though, when Drew Storen entered in relief of Gonzalez and let three runs cross the plate (albeit on a potential double-play grounder that got past second baseman Asdrubal Cabrera, followed by a bloop single to left-center). That turned a 2-1 game that was well within reach into a 5-1 deficit that felt far too large for this team to overcome.

HITTING LOWLIGHT: It’s not like the Nationals didn’t have chances. They seemingly had one every inning against Wheeler. But they kept finding ways to spoil those chances. Jayson Werth and Steven Souza Jr. each grounded into 6-4-3 double plays with two on and nobody out. Werth was thrown out at the plate trying to score from second on Adam LaRoche’s single to left. And in probably the low point of the night, Cabrera let Jose Lobaton’s hard grounder strike him as he tried to run from second to third bases. That’s an automatic out, and it forced Ian Desmond (who would’ve scored) back to third base. That about summed up this night at the plate for the Nationals.

PITCHING LOWLIGHT: In an up-and-down season, this was an up-and-down start for Gonzalez. Things began in a decidedly downward fashion when he allowed runs in the first and second innings. Then the left-hander somehow managed to right his ship and retire 12 of the next 13 batters he faced. But just when it looked like he would finish his night on a high note, Gonzalez got into trouble again. He walked Eric Young Jr. to open the seventh, then gave up a single to Ruben Tejada. Matt Williams decided he had seen enough. Gonzalez was pulled, much to his chagrin, and when Storen allowed two inherited runners to score, Gio wound up with an unimpressive pitching line: 4 earned runs allowed in 6-plus innings.

STREAK WATCH: With an infield single up the middle in the bottom of the third, Denard Span extended his streak of consecutive games reaching base to 31, now the second-longest in Nationals history behind only Ryan Zimmerman’s 43-game streak in 2009.

KEY STAT: The Nationals are now 5-8 since Zimmerman injured his hamstring on July 22 in Colorado.

UP NEXT: The series continues at 7:05 p.m. Wednesday when Doug Fister gets the ball against Mets lefty Jonathon Niese.

  1. David Proctor - Aug 5, 2014 at 10:20 PM

    This might be the worst game of the year, from a pure execution standpoint. We’ve had lots of games with squandered opportunities, but today’s really stands out. Wheeler had NOTHING and we scored one run…on a wild pitch.

    If you were booing Bryce, go be a Philly fan. He’s working his ass off and he has the ability.

    But at least all was not lost tonight as we rid ourselves of a pest.

    • stoatva - Aug 5, 2014 at 10:23 PM

      Heard very few.

    • adcwonk - Aug 5, 2014 at 10:26 PM

      This might be the worst game of the year, from a pure execution standpoint….

      Yes, but:

      Nats had two guys on and nobody out like, what, four times?

      I’ll take those odds. Today, everything broke the other way: between bloop broken hit singles, hard hit balls for DP’s, a bad “send”, and so forth. Bad execution, but it’s not like we were shut down.

      We’ll get ‘em tomorrow.

      • David Proctor - Aug 5, 2014 at 10:31 PM

        You create your own luck to an extent. If we’re smashing line drives right at guys like we did against the Phils, that’s one thing. That wasn’t the case tonight. The play at the plate is completely avoidable. That ball to Cabrera should’ve been a double play. Things like that.

    • Mrsb loves the Nats - Aug 5, 2014 at 11:12 PM

      Wait, what did I miss? ‘Rid ourselves of a pest’

      I didn’t hear any boos for Harper…. May have been mets fans that did that, if any…

  2. scnatsfan - Aug 5, 2014 at 10:22 PM

    The team is not as bad as it has looked the last 13 innings

    • NatsLady - Aug 5, 2014 at 10:27 PM

      You think our bullpen has challenges?

      • adcwonk - Aug 5, 2014 at 10:46 PM

        35 hits in 11 innings?! Holy moley!

    • David Proctor - Aug 5, 2014 at 10:27 PM

      Not as good as you look when you win, not as bad as you look when you lose

      • adcwonk - Aug 5, 2014 at 10:45 PM

        +1

  3. Danny - Aug 5, 2014 at 10:26 PM

    The past week or so may not be out worst run of the season record-wise. Performance-wise on the field it seems like it though.

  4. adcwonk - Aug 5, 2014 at 10:28 PM

    Oh . . . and: Go Mariners!

  5. scmargenau - Aug 5, 2014 at 10:31 PM

    Unreal. Bryce is a mess

  6. David Proctor - Aug 5, 2014 at 10:32 PM

    When Ramos comes back, Desi needs to be swapped out of the 5 spot, too.

  7. donniebenth - Aug 5, 2014 at 10:37 PM

    Nats with RISP are like Frankie Valli after 1978…. No hits

  8. NatsLady - Aug 5, 2014 at 10:42 PM

    Kershaw gave up two runs and Mike Trout was not involved.

    Mariners outfielder misplayed a ball, might have gotten the guy at the plate. King Felix got out of it with only one run.

  9. habs3 - Aug 5, 2014 at 10:52 PM

    Are we allowed to be objective when it comes to Nats.

  10. NatsLady - Aug 5, 2014 at 10:53 PM

    • NatsLady - Aug 5, 2014 at 10:56 PM

      King Felix is gonna have to handle the Barves for a while. This I gotta see.

    • NatsLady - Aug 5, 2014 at 10:58 PM

      JP Arencibia, who needs a triple for the cycle, pops up.

    • NatsLady - Aug 5, 2014 at 11:03 PM

      Well, that was more fun than our game, for sure. Not that I want to lose 16-0 but I would love to see Adam pitch.

      • NatsLady - Aug 5, 2014 at 11:04 PM

        Adam LaRoche, I mean.

  11. Mrsb loves the Nats - Aug 5, 2014 at 10:53 PM

    Uhm, at least I got the gnome…

    Not sure what Cabrera was thinking on that double play… Not sure how he got hit with the ball in the 2nd inning…

    But we are 5-2 against the mets so far this season… Let’s win tomorrow and Thursday and get back to playing better ball…

    Gosh, this offense is killing me… Desi and Harper are black holes… I hope they both suddenly find it tomorrow.

    • thewerthwhisperer - Aug 5, 2014 at 11:04 PM

      Sorry if I err with this post, but I have an extra Span bobblehead which I’d love to swap for a JW Garden gnome. I live in friendship heights. Thanks. By the way, if they had a gnome for a certain former Red Sock now Athletic, would it be a Jonny Gome Gnome?

  12. Mrsb loves the Nats - Aug 5, 2014 at 10:54 PM

    And go mariners….

  13. habs3 - Aug 5, 2014 at 10:58 PM

    Someone better talk to Bryce. Pitchers are just toying with him. He looked so overmatched tonight. I felt embarrassed for him.

    He seems to be trying to pull everything. His head bobs like a cork on water and his right side opens on every pitch.

    Get some help.

    • sjm308 - Aug 5, 2014 at 11:14 PM

      habs – you are spot on about all the moving parts in Bryce’s swing right now. Its not a pretty picture.

    • Nats fool - Aug 5, 2014 at 11:22 PM

      What they need to do is move him up in the lineup like they should have done at the beginning of the season. Let him see more pitches where they don’t have 7,8, and 9 waiting. MW has gotten into his head requiring him to earn it “old school.” There is a bad vibe, like the manager is about to lose the team. Rizzo will have some tough decisions in the offseason.

      • stoatva - Aug 5, 2014 at 11:27 PM

        I tend to agree with this.

      • Section 222 - Aug 6, 2014 at 12:49 AM

        +1 Someone asked me tonight what I think about MW? I said “jury’s still out, but I’m concerned about how he’s handled Bryce.” He doesn’t seem to have any answers other than make him a second tier player batting 6th.

    • naterialguy - Aug 5, 2014 at 11:45 PM

      Hee went opposite field and and missed a hr by a foot

      • 6ID20 - Aug 6, 2014 at 12:04 AM

        Warning track power.

      • scmargenau - Aug 6, 2014 at 2:36 PM

        Try 20 ft. He wasn’t close to sweet spot, was off top of Bat.

        Bryce is a below avg player at this point. I don’t care what stat u throw, it’s clear as day.

  14. sjm308 - Aug 5, 2014 at 11:11 PM

    Don’t usually do this but I have to put my two cents in.
    Amazing early crowd and I have to think we will see more of these “give-aways”. Its business at its finest, you get 10,000 + fans into the park early to drink $9 beers for an item that might cost $3. I was able to get one nice craft beer at Justin’s for $3 on their outstanding happy hour, ambled into the park around 5:15 and then milled around with many more people than I am used to seeing 90 min. before a game. Actually, I am never in the park that early but the Gnome was a must according to my spousal equivalent.

    This was a red carpet game so I was over a section in 307. Also got to sit in my playoff seats in 306 and am not disappointed in those either.

    The Game! Wheeler was over 60 pitches after 3 innings. I felt certain we were going to get to him at any moment.
    Not sure what happened with Cabrera as they don’t show replays of stuff like that. We thought Desmond would have scored for sure.
    My biggest grip and I am sure it was covered in the In-Game comments was our 3rd base coach sending Werth. We would have had 1st and 3rd with no outs. Just deflated the entire team in my opinion.

    Finally – We really are not very good right now. We have some decent pieces but Desmond and Harper are lost at the plate. Without Ramos, once you got past LaRoche we had nothing from 5 through 9. We catch the ball ok, we pitch ok but we are not what I would call a World Series Team. That doesn’t mean we can’t figure it out but not the way we look right now. I think even in this sad state that I saw tonight, we are still probably as good as the Braves but this was not a good effort. I had and have such high hopes for Harper but he is not the player he was before the thumb. I will be back out there on Thursday afternoon, back in 308 which should bring us some luck (I think we have won 3 in a row when I am in 308 and I know the last two times we scored 8 and 11 runs).

    Finally, not that I read alot of comments but what pest did we lose?

    Go Nats!!

  15. sjm308 - Aug 5, 2014 at 11:13 PM

    Oh, not sure where David heard boos but there were none up in 307. Some groans but not boos

    • Mrsb loves the Nats - Aug 5, 2014 at 11:16 PM

      I was in 317… Think I may sit in 310 next time or 210 next time… But that send actually caused me to lose it… Like I ripped my program book to shreds… I was so heated…

    • 6ID20 - Aug 6, 2014 at 12:08 AM

      I was in 309 and I heard boos for Harper on his last at bat K. And it wasn’t Mets fans either, as Phil Wood speculated on the radio on the drive home. They really need to send him down to AAA for a few weeks to straighten out his swing. Does Rizzo have the cojones to do that?

  16. stoatva - Aug 5, 2014 at 11:23 PM

    This team continues to look to me like it needs a jolt of energy or a breath of fresh air, or something. But the same tired lineup gets trotted out night after night after night after night after….

  17. stoatva - Aug 5, 2014 at 11:26 PM

    LoMo ties it for the Ms with a seventeen hopper through the infield. JUp pitches it to the backstop to advance the runners to 2d and 3d.

  18. Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 5, 2014 at 11:28 PM

    Glad nobody is jumping from their balconys.

    What do you all think of the send of Werth when the game was 2-1 and there were no outs? I thought that play and Assdrubal Cabrera getting hit by Lobaton’s grounder along with LaRoche not fielding the grounder that turned into a triple by Murphy were the biggest plays of the game.

    • Mrsb loves the Nats - Aug 5, 2014 at 11:31 PM

      Dumb as* send….

      I thought the non double play Cabrera didnt turn hosed us…

      • stoatva - Aug 5, 2014 at 11:33 PM

        Bring back Bo! Managing the Astros can’t be that much fun.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 5, 2014 at 11:35 PM

        Thank you. I forgot to add that. How wasn’t that an error?

    • sjm308 - Aug 5, 2014 at 11:38 PM

      Ghost you probably didn’t read my earlier comment at 11:11 but I thought sending Werth and the resulting out took everything out of our club. Just deflating. We go from 1st and 3rd with NO OUTS to a slow runner at first with the struggling Desmond and Harper headed to the plate.

      Not giving up on our lads but I was not a happy camper up in 307 right then.

      Another point that I just remembered is that Wheeler had already thrown a ton of pitches and with runners on the corners and NO OUTS, it was pretty certain he would have had to throw even more.

      Go Nats!

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 5, 2014 at 11:42 PM

        I came in for Werth Garden Gnome and my phone died within minutes of my arrival hence no posts.

        Totally agree with you. The crowd was very happy with LaRoche’s single and the air was sucked out of the stadium on the throw out at home.

    • David Proctor - Aug 5, 2014 at 11:58 PM

      Horrible send. Werth defended Henley’s send after the game saying the shift on ALR allowed him to get an extra big lead and also the guy in LF was making his third career start out there but was an infielder. Those two things made them think he could score.

      I still think you have to be 100% sure with 0 out.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 6, 2014 at 12:02 AM

        Totally agree with you. Has to be a stand-up play at home.

  19. Mrsb loves the Nats - Aug 5, 2014 at 11:30 PM

    What just happened to A Simmons?

  20. Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 5, 2014 at 11:31 PM

    Zunino swings at ball 4 on the 3-2 pitch.

  21. Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 5, 2014 at 11:31 PM

    Thank you LaStella 3-1

  22. NatsLady - Aug 5, 2014 at 11:33 PM

    You may create your own luck, but you also create your own BAD luck, and the Barves are looking really bad right now.

  23. Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 5, 2014 at 11:33 PM

    4-1

    • sjm308 - Aug 5, 2014 at 11:40 PM

      Go Seattle!!

  24. sjm308 - Aug 5, 2014 at 11:41 PM

    Good night all!

    Have to admit, turning in with the Braves down 4-1 makes the night just a little more tolerable.

    Still wondering what pest we got rid of?

    • stoatva - Aug 5, 2014 at 11:56 PM

      Check out game thread @ 9:34

  25. Danny - Aug 5, 2014 at 11:43 PM

    We are very fortunate the Braves have been about the worst team in baseball lately.

  26. Nats fool - Aug 5, 2014 at 11:44 PM

    I think my last comment got eaten. I think we needed to go all in and acquired a bat to replace Zimm, for now and in the future. We needed to go all in for Beltre. A tough deal to swing, I know, but he would have taken the four slot. We may have worked a deal with Cole, Souza, and Detwiler. I would have moved Harp to three and werewolf to five. Harper would have protection and they couldn’t get away with junk.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 5, 2014 at 11:49 PM

      Rizzo is smart enough not to overpay on Beltre. I’m sure he made a fair offer. Still time to make some deals. The Assdrubal mistakes today were huge in the outcome. I hope this was something we never see again.

      • Nats fool - Aug 5, 2014 at 11:55 PM

        We have at most two years to win before the Marlins take the East. That won’t change if we would have overpaid now, but we could have entered the playoffs with enough run production to make noise. Now it will be a struggle to make it.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 6, 2014 at 12:03 AM

        I have supported getting an upgrade of Beltre, Castro or Utley, but you can’t overpay with parting with your future.

  27. Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 5, 2014 at 11:45 PM

    Well people I don’t want to say I told you so but, I see Bonifacio is leadoff and playing CF in place of BJ Upton. I wonder how long that lasts.

  28. stoatva - Aug 5, 2014 at 11:58 PM

    Our old buddy Chris Young could repay the Nats for their kindness with a win tomorrow.

  29. Eric - Aug 6, 2014 at 12:02 AM

    I heard no boos of Harper.

    I’m dying to know what “pest” we lost.

    Had a great time tonight, despite the outcome. If the Ms go on to win tonight? Meh. No biggie. I’d love to gain ground of course, but 3 up in early August ain’t terrible. 2 up works, too, but not quite as well ;)

    Speaking of which, a fella behind us at one point was like (to paraphrase), “I don’t know what’s worse, this disappointment or a 100-loss team.”

    I was like, “I’ll take first place by 3 games, thank you very much!”

    I took his silence to indicate agreement.

    The same guy was also totally incensed about the Worth send. I mean he was screaming at Henley for 5 full minutes. I think it was close enough that it was not a stupid move (basically required a perfect or at least nearly perfect throw), especially when you consider how the next four batters are hitting. I think the challenge of the play at the plate was far more questionable.

    I agree with SJM that I thought we’d get to Wheeler. He was not on his game. Oh well.

    The Cabrera misplay on the DP ball was awful; the ball that hit him seemed to me to be straight bad luck

    I was getting beer when LaRoche didn’t get to the triple, so can’t really comment. My dad thought it was a legit hit though.

    Anyway, we’re slumping as a team. Really hope we can find our way without Zim, ideally by the weekend. We’re OK in the standings for now, but this is not sustainable.

    • NatsLady - Aug 6, 2014 at 12:37 AM

      There were boos of Harper after his last AB, heard them on TV. Not a lot.

      I didn’t see the beginning of the game, so can’t comment on whether Asdrubal could have avoided getting hit. Charlie and Dave said he “made no attempt” to avoid the ball, but maybe he didn’t see it.

      Gausman wasn’t on his game either, and we didn’t take advantage. Even though he was shaky at the start, Gio kept us in the game.

  30. NatsLady - Aug 6, 2014 at 12:34 AM

    So the Yanks gave us this guy Thornton, and they brought up Rich Hill from the minors to take his place, they bring him into a tie game.

    Pitching Change: Rich Hill replaces Esmil Rogers.
    Coaching visit to mound.
    With Ezequiel Carrera batting, Victor Martinez steals (3) 2nd base.
    Offensive Substitution: Pinch-runner Don Kelly replaces Victor Martinez.
    4.Ezequiel Carrera hit by pitch.

    Yes, you read that right, VICTOR MARTINEZ stole a base!

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