Jeremy Hefner was able to provide a solid start for the Mets, but once again, the offense wasn’t able to muster enough runs to make the game interesting. It should be noted that Washington not only threw Gio Gonzalez yesterday, but Stephen Strasburg today as well. They had the bases loaded with no one out in the 8th, which ended up being their best chance to get back in the game, but there was no big hit to be seen.
Mets Offensive Highlights:
Ike Davis helped cut the Mets’ deficit in half with his 16th home run of the year, re-taking the club lead from David Wright. As usual during the second half, New York was silent until the 8th inning, where they were able to take advantage of a somewhat ineffective Nationals bullpen. Josh Thole, Andres Torres, and Scott Hairston all walked with nobody out. After Ruben Tejada lined out, Jordany Valdespin grounded out, bringing in the second Mets run of the afternoon. David Wright came up with two men on and two out, but Drew Storeninduced a ground out to third, ending the threat.
Nationals Offensive Highlights:
Washington got on the board twice in the second inning on the strength of two home runs. First, it was Michael Morse, who hit his 7th bomb of the year over the right field wall. Then, Danny Espinosa joined the party immediately after him by hitting his 9th round tripper of 2012 to put the Nats up 2-0 at the time. Washington struck again in the fourth, as the threat begin with Espinosa hitting a ground rule double to left, then moving to third base after Roger Bernadina‘s single. Sandy Leon reached on a fielder’s choice, which allowed Espinosa to score the third run of the game for the Nats. Tim Byrdak couldn’t keep the Washington bats silent in the 7th; Bryce Harper walked and Adam LaRoche hit his second home run in as many days to extend their lead to four.
In his first start for the Mets since the beginning of June, Jeremy Hefner was exactly what New York needed, as he threw 6 innings, gave up 3 runs (2 earned), 6 hits, 2 walks, and 7 strikeouts. Unfortunately, Byrdak couldn’t keep the deficit at two as he surrendered two runs in his 0.2 innings pitched. Jon Rauch was able to close out the 7th with 0.1 innings pitched and Elvin Ramirez threw 2 scoreless innings, only giving up 1 walk, while striking out one, continuing his string of good outings.
On the other hand, Stephen Strasburg was even better, making his recent “struggles” a thing of the past. He threw 7 innings today, only giving up 1 run (the Davis HR), on 4 hits and no walks, while striking out 11 Met hitters. Henry Rodriguez and Craig Stammen combined to walk the bases loaded in the 8th, but Drew Storen bailed them out, only allowing one inherited runner to cross the plate. Tyler Clippard came in to secure the sweep for Washington, getting his 18th save of the season.
The Mets have been swept for the second straight time, and three out of the four series they’ve played since the All-Star game have ended in the same result. They now sit at 47-51 and 11.5 games out of first place in the NL East. Sigh.
Probable Pitchers Thursday:
Despite losing six games in a row and 13 of 15, there is a lot of excitement for tomorrow’s game. The Mets will be sending Matt Harvey (0-0, 0.00 ERA) to the hill for his MLB debut against Wade Miley (11-5, 3.02 ERA) of the Diamondbacks. First pitch in Arizona is scheduled for 9:40pm.