Word around Flushing is that even if GM Sandy Alderson doesn’t trade Bartolo Colon this month, he will look to move the veteran right-hander and the 11 million dollars left on his contract come offseason. And there’s a reason for that. Because New York needs the money to spend on offense. Because it doesn’t matter how many strikeouts, how few walks, how little runs this pitching staff allows, if the Mets can’t score runs, they won’t win games. They proved that Wednesday night as a seven inning, one earned run, eight strikeout gem by Bartolo Colon went for naught, and the team fell to the Nationals 3-2, their tenth consecutive loss to Washington at Citi Field.
Colon was sharp from the get-go, striking out Nationals rookie Michael Taylor on three straight fastballs to start the game. He rolled through the first two innings without resistance.
The Mets’ offense did make some noise in the first, but Curtis Granderson‘s leadoff single – a bloop to center-field – was erased by a double-play ground ball off the bat of Daniel Murphy, and David Wright was thrown out at second as he tried to stretch a single into his second extra base hit of the month.
Both Colon and Washington starter Jordan Zimmerman were almost unimpeachable through the first six innings of play, but the Mets took an early lead thanks to a Nationals error. After a single by Lucas Duda, Travis d’Arnaud hit a deep fly ball to left field, which Kevin Frandsen dropped, allowing Duda to score from first. It was the first slip-up in a sloppy night of play for Washington.
The score stood at 1-0 until the seventh, when Nationals first baseman Adam Laroche doubled to leadoff the inning. Shortstop Ian Desmond followed with a single, coming around to second on a throwing error by Juan Lagares. With runners on second and third and no one out, Bryce Harper hit a sacrifice fly to tie the game. Catcher Wilson Ramos then singled to put runners on first and third, and Washington took the lead on another sacrifice fly, this one off the bat of Frandsen.
In the bottom half of the inning, the Nationals gave the Mets every chance to grab the lead, but New York couldn’t take advantage. First an error by Laroche put Lucas Duda on first with no-one out. Two batters late, Matt Den Dekker singled to give the Mets first and second and one out. That became second and third and one out after Ramos attempted to pick off the recently called up Dekker, but instead threw the ball past an unaware Adam Laroche. Zimmerman then hit Lagares to load the bases.
That ended his night as Nats manager Matt Williams brought in right-hander Drew Storen from the pen. Wilmer Flores, playing shortstop in place of Ruben Tejada for the seventh straight night, then grounded into a force out at home, and pinch-hitter Kirk Nieuwenhuis struck out to end the inning.
Washington got a run off of Jeurys Familia in the eighth, putting New York behind 3-1 lead heading into the bottom of the ninth.
And they actually fought back against Nats closer Rafael Soriano. With both slugging and small ball, they fought back. But it was too little, too late. D’Arnaud hit a long home run to left field, to leadoff the inning and put the Amazins’ within striking distance. Den Dekker followed with his second single of the night, and aggressively nabbed third when Eric Young Jr singled two batters later. E.Y. promptly stole second to put the winning run in scoring position.
That was as far they got though. Dekker was thrown out at the plate on a bouncer off the bat of pinch-hitter Eric Campbell and then Curtis Granderson hit a comebacker to end the inning.
>With a 2-4 for night, David Wright now has a 12 game hitting streak, over which he has hit .320 but has amassed only one extra base hit.
>Colon rebounded well after his last outing, in which he gave up six earned runs and couldn’t make it out of the fifth inning in a loss to the Phillies. The 41 year old gave up one earned run over seven innings, striking out eight and issuing only one walk.
>Travis d’Arnaud now ranks second among all National League rookies with 10 home runs.
>Since July 19th, the Mets are 5-2 and have averaged 5.14 runs per game against the 53-67 Phillies. Against all other teams over that stretch, they are 6-12, averaging just 2.11 runs per game.
With the loss, the Mets fall to 57-64, 7 games under .500 and 9.5 games out of first in the NL East. They will look to avoid a series sweep when Dillon Gee (4-4, 3.54 ERA) squares off against Stephen Strasburg (8-10, 3.68 ERA) tomorrow night, 7:10 PM EST.