Despite three solo homers, the Mets were unable to rally from a three-run deficit and fell to the Nationals, 5-4, on Thursday night at Citi Field.
Things you should know about tonight's game...
1) Steven Matz was charged with three runs on eight hits and two walks with four strikeouts over 6 1/3 innings. He surrendered a two-run homer to Anthony Rendon in the first and a solo shot to the Nats' third baseman in the third. Matz (4-7) allowed three earned runs or fewer for the 11th time in his last 13 starts.
2) Jose Bautista had an RBI single and a solo homer. Kevin Plawecki and Asdrubal Cabrera went deep in the seventh and eighth innings, respectively, to pull the Mets within a run. All three collected multi-hit games while the rest of the lineup went 1-for-21.
3) Jerry Blevins surrendered a two-run homer to Bryce Harper in the seventh, which increased Washington's lead to 5-3. The southpaw has given up three home runs to left-handed batters this season after allowing one in the previous four seasons. Jacob Rhame and Jeurys Familia combined for two perfect innings of relief.
Michael Avallone, SNY.tv | Twitter |
I'm a big-picture sort of guy when it comes to the Major League Baseball season. Getting worked up over individual games as they are happening? Guilty as charged, but I always fall back into the overarching theme. That's why I'm going to largely ignore some of tonight's individual takeaways and focus on this: what exactly are the Mets doing?
The club entered play Thursday night 16 games below .500 with no hope of a playoff spot, or a playoff run for that matter, barring a miracle of epic proportions. Yet here we are, watching Jose Reyes, Matt den Dekker, Wilmer Flores and Jose Bautista comprising half of the position players in the starting lineup. Huh? What am I missing here? Or better yet, what are the Mets missing?
I am in no way advocating New York tanks its season to gain a better draft pick. This isn't the NFL or NBA where that strategy can pay instant dividends. Nor am I saying that veterans starting occasionally is a bad thing on a team going nowhere, but come on. There is absolutely, positively no need to see that quartet starting together in a Major League game when the Mets have younger, more viable and potentially future pieces of their team available to play.
If this were an isolated incident, so be it. But it's not. It's become the Mets' M.O. to play mediocre and/or over-the-hill players at the expense of younger players who could potentially be a solution as opposed to a stop-gap. Does Dominic Smith deserve to be out there every day based on his performance? No, but wasn't he considered one of the club's top prospects last season? Now he's sitting more often than not and when he does play, it's in left field. I won't even get into the insistence that Reyes not only plays, but that he's still on this team.
I won't pretend to know the inner machinations of a Major League organization. But I also know it's not nearly as complicated as the Mets make it on themselves and it's to the detriment of what they should be doing at this juncture.
News and notes...
The Mets fell to 3-5 on their 11-game homestand and lost for the 20th time in 25 games at Citi Field. They are 9-16 in one-run contests.
New York is 17-46 (.270), including 1-3 this season, against Washington at Citi Field since the beginning of 2012.
Left-handers are hitting .333 (15-for-45) with six extra-base hits and six walks against Blevins this season.
Matz ended the first half with a 3.38 ERA, including a 2.91 mark in 13 starts since the beginning of May. The southpaw fell to 1-5 at Citi Field in 2018.
Cabrera's 52 RBIs are the highest total of his career prior to the All-Star break (51 in 2011 with Cleveland).
The Mets (37-54) continue their series against the Nationals (47-46) on Friday night at Citi Field at 7 p.m. on SNY.
Noah Syndergaard (4-1, 3.06 ERA/2.57 FIP, 76 K, 1.175 WHIP) makes his return to the Majors after missing six weeks with a strain in his right index finger. The right-hander made a rehab appearance for low-A Brooklyn Sunday and allowed one run over five innings while striking out seven. He last appeared in the Majors on May 25, when he surrendered three runs in six frames against the Brewers. Syndergaard is 2-4 with a 3.53 ERA in 10 career starts against the Nationals.
Tanner Roark (3-11, 4.76 ERA/4.58 FIP, 93 Ks, 1.368 WHIP) looks to end the first-half on a high note as he comes into his outing tied for the Major League lead in losses. The 31-year-old has won one time in 13 appearances (12 starts) to go along with a 5.40 ERA since the beginning of May, including consecutive losses where he surrendered 10 hits in each. Roark has a 5.25 ERA in two starts against the Mets this season. He is 7-2 with a 3.09 mark in 19 career matchups (13 starts) with New York.