Nationals 6 Mets 2
What the heck happened? Here we thought the Mets would march over the Nationals with a possible weekend sweep, and instead, the home opener is spoiled by a frustrating loss.
R.A. Dickey had trouble locating his knuckler all day, as he walked five in five frames and was continually behind hitters. Hey, once in a while that’s going to happen — but, after seeing Mike Pelfrey and Jon Niese get rocked in consecutive starts, it’s unnerving to see our “sure thing” lose his magic touch.
While Dickey struggled, Washington starter Jordan Zimmermann pitched well, allowing two runs on 6 hits and no walks in 5 1/3. Not a tremendous outing, but good enough to get the win.
Speaking of Zimmermann, there’s something about his windup that reminds me of Roy Oswalt.
Rick Ankiel seemed very comfortable hitting against Dickey’s knuckler; he stroked two sharp singles through the right side on knucklers and added a third hit in the eighth off lefty Tim Byrdak.
Is it me, or does Ankiel look like a character actor who plays annoying, white trash bad guys in comedy movies?
Speaking of Ankiel … what could have been the biggest play of the game came in the top of the fifth, with the bases loaded and one out. Dickey had just walked Mike Morse to force in a run, and Ankiel rapped another sharp grounder off the flutterball that zipped up the middle and would have scored two more runs. But Jose Reyes made a diving, sparkling play to stop the ball, step on second, and fire to first to complete a “web gem” double play. That play was huge until the 8th, when the game got away from the Mets.
Why was this game so frustrating? One simple stat tells the story: the Mets were 0-for-10 with runners in scoring position. This time, there was no Roy Halladay on the mound. So what was the excuse?
If anything, the Nats had an excuse lined up had they lost this game: they arrived in NYC at 4 AM and had to be at the ballpark in time for a 4 PM ballgame. Yet it was the Mets who looked as though they were sleepwalking.
From the “little things” department: the Mets might’ve only scored one run had it not been for two bad decisions in the fourth inning — one by David Wright, and one by Ian Desmond. Wright was on second base with none out, and a ground ball was hit to shortstop. Wright took off for third (bad decision) and would have been thrown out by 20 feet had Desmond thrown to third. But Desmond chose instead to make the play at 1B (bad decision), allowing Wright to take 3B. A few pitches later, Ike Davis hit a fly ball to left field to score Wright with the Mets’ second run of the game. As it turned out, that run didn’t matter, but it was a big run up until the eighth inning.
Pudge Rodriguez was charged with a passed ball during the ballgame, and it was a great example of why the passed ball is a terrible stat. It happened because Pudge called a slider to be thrown on the outside corner of the plate; thus, he set up out there. As Pudge waited for the slider to break, it never did — it just spun, remained straight, and was a good three feet away from the intended target. By the time Pudge adjusted, he couldn’t get his glove on the ball and it went behind him, advancing the runner. In that case, a wild pitch should have been called, but official scorers almost never call a wild pitch that doesn’t hit the dirt. The pitcher messed up, but the catcher gets the blame. Dumb.
The Mets struck out looking five times; Ike Davis was guilty twice. Something I’ve noticed since Ike first came up: he complains often on called strikes, and in particular on called strike threes. Even if Davis is correct, it does him no good to whine about a call — in fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if he has developed a reputation among umpires as a complainer, and as a result, could get less calls go his way. Not to mention that it is annoying, tiresome, unprofessional, and disrespectful to be constantly complaining about calls.
Otherwise, Davis continues to swing a hot bat. He has driven in a run in 6 of the Mets 7 games.
Todd Coffey finished the game for the Nats. I remember him being a little chubby in the past, but he is now a whale. He kind of reminds me of Bob Wickman now.
The Mets announced a sellout for this home opener. However, from the view provided by the SNY TV cameras, there looked to be a large number of empty seats. Maybe everyone was standing on line at the Shake Shack.
Next Mets Game
The Mets and Nats do it again at 7:10 PM on Saturday night. Chris Capuano goes to the hill against Tom Gorzelanny.
About the Author
Joe Janish began MetsToday in 2005 to provide the unique perspective of a high-level player and coach -- he earned NCAA D-1 All-American honors as a catcher and coached several players who went on to play pro ball. As a result his posts often include mechanical evaluations, scout-like analysis, and opinions that go beyond the numbers.