The Mets had couple of early defensive issues and the offense stayed quiet in Saturday’s 7-1 loss to Nationals.
Here are some key takeaways …
– The Mets’ defense got off to a poor start on Saturday. Leading off the first inning, Josh Harrison singled to right field and the ball took bad hop right past Michael Conforto in right field. Harrison made it to third and was credited with a single as Conforto was tagged with a two-base error. The Nats capitalized right away, as Yadiel Hernandez hit a sac fly to left to give Washington a 1-0 lead.
– Marcus Stroman seemed to be battling an inconsistent strike zone early on, as he walked Starlin Castro and Alex Avila in the top of the second. With runners at first and second and two outs, opposing pitcher Joe Ross inside-outed a single to the right side, and Conforto’s throw home was not in time, as Washington increased their lead to 2-0.
The third inning was more of a struggle for Stroman, who just never seemed fully comfortable on the mound. The right-hander allowed four more hits in the inning, all singles, but RBI knocks from Kyle Schwarber and Starlin Castro gave Washington a 4-0 lead.
– Stroman nearly made it out of the fourth unscathed, but a two-out RBI single from Hernandez – the Nats’ eighth single of the afternoon – made it a 5-0 game. That would be Stroman’s final inning, as he just didn’t have his best stuff Saturday, allowing five runs (four earned) on eight hits with four strikeouts and two walks over 4.0 innings.
– Conforto did his part to try to make up for his defensive miscues by pulling his first home run of the season off the foul pole in right. After also hitting the ball hard his first time up off of Ross but lining out to right, Conforto got enough of a slider and just kept it fair to make it a 5-1 game in the bottom of the fourth.
The homer snapped an 88-at-bat streak without a home run for the Mets’ right fielder.
– The Mets turned to Stephen Tarpley first out of the pen, hoping that he could give them some length. Instead, Tarpley had a disastrous team debut. After walking two hitters with a Schwarber single sandwiched in-between, Tarpley hit Avila with the bases loaded to force in the Nats’ sixth run. Tarpley did not record an out and threw 11 of his 15 pitches for balls.
Robert Gsellman did his best to come in and clean up, allowing one inherited runner to score and making it a 7-1 game.
– Gsellman was terrific on Saturday. Like Sean Reid-Foley did earlier in the week, Gsellman gave the Mets three hitless innings in relief. Jacob Barnes and Jeurys Familia were also effective out of the bullpen, combining for two scoreless innings while striking out three and allowing just one hit.
– Pete Alonso had a pair of hits, but the Mets’ lineup had a fairly quiet day, mustering just six hits and going 0-for-3 with runners in scoring position.
The rubber match of the three-game series will be Sunday afternoon, as Taijuan Walker faces Patrick Corbin. First pitch on PIX11 is set for 1:10 p.m.