Mets made an early statement against the Nationals

By Danny Abriano

Allow me to lead this article with the following… 

Three games is an incredibly small sample size and the Mets haven’t proven what kind of team they’ll be in 2015.

However, the reaction from many if the Mets had been swept by the Nationals in those three games would’ve been of the ‘sky is falling’ variety. So we’ll react to the Mets winning two out of three – while knowing full well that they have much more work to do – since it’s all we have to go by so far.

The Mets entered the season on the road, against the team basically every expert believes to be the best in the sport, with Max Scherzer, Jordan Zimmermann, and Stephen Strasburg lined up against them on the mound.

After an offseason where the front office, manager, and players made it known that 2015 was the year the Mets were expected to return to contention, a strong opening series might not have been imperative, but it was pretty close to it. And the Mets responded.

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Yes, the Nationals were without Denard Span, Anthony Rendon, and Jayson Werth, weakening their offense. It can be argued, though, that the difference between Span and top prospect Michael Taylor (who filled in) isn’t enormous.

If we’re mentioning that the Nationals were without three key members of their offense, though, we also have to take into account that the Mets were without three key members of their pitching staff: Zack Wheeler and Josh Edgin (both gone for the season), and Jenrry Mejia (on the 15-day disabled list).

It also should be pointed out that on both Tuesday and Thursday, the Mets took advantage of Nationals errors to score multiple runs. But that’s what good teams do. And while the Mets took advantage of Washington miscues on Monday and Thursday, they hit into incredibly bad luck on Wednesday, evening things out a bit.

As the Mets took two of three from the Nationals on the road to start the year…

  • The pitching staff as a whole was spectacular, allowing just six runs in 27 innings pitched.
  • Matt Harvey made his first start in nearly 600 days, thoroughly dominating the Nationals for six innings.
  • Rafael Montero made his first appearance out of the bullpen and was both poised and highly effective.
  • Travis d’Arnaud, who didn’t hit well during Spring Training, had a fantastic series both offensively and defensively.
  • David Wright broke through with a nice game on Thursday, and Curtis Granderson worked deep counts and reached base a bunch of times from the leadoff spot.

Again, it’s incredibly early, but the Mets taking two of three games from the Nationals on the road – with Washington’s top three starters going – was a great way to start the season.

The Mets had only four wins against the Nats in 2014, and they’re already halfway to that mark just three games into 2015.

We’re nowhere near the point of saying the Mets can challenge the Nats for supremacy in the National League East. However, if the Mets hope to contend for a playoff spot this season, they’ll almost certainly have to be much better against Washington.

What the Mets did this week against the Nationals was a small step, but it was a step in the right direction.