Things you should know about tonight's game...
1) Leading 3-2 in the sixth, Hansel Robles allowed a single and then walked three consecutive batters to force in the tying run. Chasen Bradford entered the game and pushed across the go-ahead marker with New York's fourth straight free pass.
2) Trailing 2-0 in the sixth, Juan Lagares stroked an RBI double and Brandon Nimmo went deep for his first home run of the season to give the Mets a 3-2 lead. Jose Reyes went 3-for-5 with an RBI single in the ninth while Lagares and Nimmo had two hits apiece for New York.
3) Seth Lugo returned from the disabled list and tossed three scoreless frames before faltering in the fourth. He was lifted after 70 pitches and was charged with two runs on four hits and no walks with five strikeouts in 3 2/3 innings.
Postgame reaction from Michael Avallone...
Injuries aside, the bottom of the sixth was basically a microcosm of what has been the underlying factor that has sabotaged the Mets' season. After scoring three times in the top of the inning, Robles allowed a leadoff single, recorded an out and then walked three straight batters to force in the tying run. Bradford entered and forced in the go-ahead tally with New York's fourth consecutive free pass.
And so it goes.
It's one thing to get beat due to a lack of talent while the ball gets smacked around the field. Frustrating, yet understandable. But all season Mets pitchers have either fallen behind hitters on a consistent basis or issued walks at a ridiculous rate. Predictably, the results have not been pretty. New York's staff entered Sunday's doubleheader with 458 walks, tied for the fourth-highest total in the National League with Atlanta. Three members of the Mets' bullpen -- Josh Smoker (5.23), AJ Ramos (5.07) and Robles (4.78) -- rank among the worst relievers in the league in walks-per-nine.
There are a myriad of issues GM Sandy Alderson needs to work through this offseason, but getting the pitching straightened out -- specifically the bullpen -- is a must. Even after a recent three-week stretch of solid pitching, they have been unwatchable this season... >> To follow Michael on Twitter, click here.
News and notes...
The Mets are 3-8-1 in their last 12 series with the Nationals. New York has not swept Montreal/Washington in a doubleheader since July 27, 1999.
Reyes, Lagares and Nimmo combined to go 7-for-14 with a double, a homer, four RBIs and three runs scored.
Lagares went 7-for-19 (.369) with two doubles, three RBIs, three runs scored and three stolen bases in the series.
After allowing seven runs over their previous 35 innings (1.80 ERA), the Mets' bullpen combined to surrender seven runs in Sunday's doubleheader.
The Mets (57-73) are off on Monday before starting a series with the Reds (55-76) at Great American Ballpark on Tuesday at 7 p.m. on SNY.
Chris Flexen (3-2, 5.79 ERA, 1.93 WHIP) opens the three-game set looking for his fourth win in five starts. The 23-year-old held the Diamondbacks to two runs over a career-high six innings to pick up the win last Wednesday. Flexen has never faced the Reds.
Sal Romano (3-5, 4.96 ERA 1.54 WHIP) is coming off consecutive seven-inning starts during which he allowed a combined three runs. Despite his recent run of success, the right-hander has a 5.23 ERA over his last five starts. This will be Romano's first appearance against the Mets.