Mets 6 Nationals 2
The Comeback has begun.
On the shoulders of Livan Hernandez and behind the bat of Jeff Francoeur, the new new new Mets started their second-half assault on the rest of the NL East by beating the cellar-dwelling Nationals.
Hernandez threw seven stellar innings, allowing only two runs on five hits and two walks against the mighty Nats. Hernandez kept the DC sluggers guessing by mixing a variety of pitches, speeds, and angles in a performance that guaranteed his spot in the rotation for at least another five days.
Meantime, Jeff Francoeur showed the world why Omar Minaya was right and the rest of MLB wrong, blasting an RBI double in the second and a solo homer in the ninth, powering a Mets offense that pummeled Washington pitching for nine hits. Similarly, Dan Murphy rewarded the patience of Jerry Manuel and solidified his spot as the #3 hitter with a two-hit, two-RBI evening. Shame on all of you who wondered why the .238-hitting Murphy was penciled into the three-hole … he’s Daniel Murphy, and He Hits Third!
In addition to Livan’s high-quality start, the bullpen was stupendous, capped by Frankie Rodriguez’s 12-pitch, perfect ninth in a non-save situation.
Francoeur was 3-for-4 on the day and saw 18 pitches — more than any other Met. Now that he’s gotten over the emotional hump of returning to his hometown, there’s no stopping “Jeff the Juggernaut”.
Francoeur became the third Met to hit a homerun this month! The last time the Mets had three different players hit a four-bagger in a single month was May of 1906, when Roland Agni, Luke Gofannon, and John Baal each pulled the trick. Of course, back then the Mets played in parks three times the size of Citi Field and the ball was “dead”, so I imagine all three of those “quadruples” were inside-the-park jobs, the result of line drives sneaking between the outfielders and rolling a quarter-mile to the fence.
Angel Pagan continues to blister the ball, burn up the basepaths, and sweep up centerfield — he went 2-for-4 with two runs scored and an RBI from the leadoff spot. I can’t decide whether he’s making me forget Carlos Beltran, Jose Reyes, or both.
Jeremy Reed went 0-for-4, sinking his average to a season-low .250, and I imagine the newly promoted Cory Sullivan will be given a shot to take away his half of the LF platoon. After all, Reed is no Danny Murphy.
Since the Phillies routed the Cubs 10-1, the Mets didn’t gain any ground in the standings. But that’s neither here nor there — the turning point we’ve been waiting for all season has finally occurred. I can taste it! (Or is that whiskey on my lips?)
Next Mets Game
The Mets demolish the Nationals on Tuesday night at 7:05 PM. Oliver Perez hurls for the Metropolitans while John Lannan plays the role of sacrificial lamb for the Nationals. Be sure to tune in early or you may miss the game-winning hit.