Pitching, pitching, pitching. That’s what the hype was all about heading into the afternoon matinee finale between the Mets and the Nationals. Johan Santana and Stephen Strasburg faced off against each other to try and take the rubber game of this three-game set at Citi Field. It was advertised as a pitcher’s duel, and boy it didn’t disappoint. Probably the biggest disappointment was the strict pitch count on Santana, who Terry Collins said would be limited to as close to 95 pitches as possible today.
Outside of a wild pitch in the second inning, Santana was on his game, throwing five innings of one-run ball, allowing five hits and walking three. How did Santana reach 99 pitches in five innings today? The three walks were a part of it, but his eight strikeouts also ran up his pitch count rather quickly. Strasburg did a little better than Johan, outlasting him until the sixth inning, giving up only two hits, three walks, and nine punch outs.
Once Santana made his exit after five innings, the bullpen once again faltered while the offense remained silent. Manny Acosta
pitched 1.1 innings and got himself into a jam by surrendering three walks that fellow reliever Ramon Ramirez couldn’t bail him out from. After Ramirez got touched up, Jon Rauch made yet another appearance on the mound at Citi to close out the eighth. Mets pitchers ended up walking 10 Nationals hitters and throwing 198 pitches, not exactly what Dan Warthen was looking for from his staff today.
Like last night, the middle of the lineup once again struggled, going a combined 1-10 with six strike outs. The only hit by the trio was a single by Ike Davis, finally breaking into the hit column for the first time in 2012. Be sure to check back with Rising Apple tomorrow as we talk more about why we think Ike Davis is struggling so mightily to start the season. As a whole, the offense didn’t do much, recording three hits, drawing four walks, and striking out 15 times. There were only a few opportunities to put runs on the board, but the Mets couldn’t capitalize by going 0-6 with runners in scoring position and leaving eight men on base. Terry Collins even got tossed by home plate umpire Larry Vanover in the seventh after disputing a called third strike to Jason Bay to try and start a rally, but it wasn’t in the cards today.
Probable Pitchers for Friday:
After dropping their second game of the year, the Mets have tomorrow off as they prepare for their weekend series against the Philadelphia Phillies. R.A. Dickey brings his knuckleball to the bandbox that is Citizen Bank Park to face Cliff Lee and the Phils for the start of a three game set. The start time is slated for 7:05pm. Collins said before the game today that he wouldn’t be surprised if David Wright was back in the lineup on Friday after fracturing his pinkie. We’ll see what the next couple of days will bring for the Mets’ third baseman.