Matz Better Start Gets Mets Second Win In Washington
Lots of questions were posed about Steven Matz. Could Matz return to the form he was in 2015? After his first start of the season, it seemed Matz was headed for the minors once lefty Jason Vargas came back from injury.
Then yesterday happened. A possible light at the end of the tunnel. Matz made a big start against a team that some even predict to go to this year's World Series, the Washington Nationals. Despite not getting the win, Matz pitched 5 innings allowing only 1 unearned run with 3 hits and 2 walks. However, the big stat was that he struck out 8. Matz is still 0-1 but his ERA went down to 3.00 as did his WHIP to 1.33. Matz has struck out 12 this season.
Hansel Robles got the win despite giving up a home run to Bryce Harper. Robles gave up a home run and 2 hits while striking out 1 in his one inning of work. Robles is 1-0 with a 3.00 ERA and a 1.00 WHIP. A.J. Ramos pitched a 1-2-3 7th for his 2nd hold on the season. Meanwhile, Jacob Rahme got one batter out in the 8th to pick up his first hold. After Jerry Blevins gave up a walk. Jeurys Familia picked up his 4th save working the final 1 2/3 innings.
The top batter for the Mets was Asdrubal Cabrera. Cabrera went 2-5 with a double, a run scored and an RBI. Cabrera is now batting .310 with no home runs and 2 RBIs. Cabrera has an on-base percentage of .375 and an on-base slugging percentage of .789.
Cabrera go things going in the top of the first by grounding a single to left off Nationals starting pitcher Gio Gonzalez. Left fielder Brian Goodwin bobbled the ball, and then had trouble picking up the ball. Since Mets manager Mickey Callaway has been preaching aggressive base running, Cabrera took off for second. Goodwin's throw was not in time and Cabrera was on second with no one out.
Yoesnis Cespedes then followed with a long foul out to left. Cabrera tagged and went to third after Goodwin's throw was offline. Wilmer Flores then drew a walk to put runners on the corners with one out. However, Todd Frazier struck out swinging on an 81-mph outside changeup. Travis d'Arnaud then struck out swinging on a 76-mph curve which catcher Pedro Severino threw out d'Arnaud at first to complete the strike out after not being able to field the pitch.
In the bottom of the first, Trea Turner bunted the ball down the first baseline. Matz tried to field the ball and tag out the speedy runner, but he was unable to field the ball. On a 1-0 count, Turner ran on a four-seam fastball and stole second after d'Arnaud's throw was late. However, Anthony Rendon struck out on a 92-mph four-seam fastball that barely nipped the inside of the plate. Harper then struck out swinging on an outside 93-mph four-seam fastball. Ryan Zimmerman then struck out swinging on a 92-mph sinker that was up.
In the bottom of the 2nd with two outs, Goodwin drew a walk. On a 1-2 count, Severino went to second after d'Arnaud delayed because he thought Matz got the third strike call on a 92-mph four seam fastball that was up high. Severino then dumped a single to center. Goodwin tried to score on the play, but center fielder Juan Lagares' throw nailed Goodwin at the plate to end the inning.
In the top of the 4th with one out, Frazier drew a walk. After d'Arnaud flied out to center, Jay Bruce lined a double down the right field line which allowed Frazier to go to third. Lagares was then intentionally put on to load the bases. However, Matz struck out swinging to end the inning.
In the bottom of the 4th with one out, Zimmerman popped a ball up into the right field foul grounds area. First baseman had to lean back and make a tough catch after almost over running it. In the bottom of the 5th, Michael A. Taylor hit a grounder to third. Frazier fielded it but threw the ball above Flores' head at first. Goodwin then put down a good bunt which allowed Taylor to go to second. On an 0-1 count to Severino, Taylor stole third after d'Arnaud's throw was late. On a full count, Severino dumped a single to right to score Taylor and give the Nats a 1-0 lead.
In the top of the 6th with one out, Frazier hit a long fly ball that went off the right field wall for a double. d'Arnaud then lined a single to left center to score Frazier and tie the game at 1-1. In the bottom of the 6th with now Robles pitching, Harper lead off with a home run on a 2-2 four-seamed fastball on the outside corner into the Mets bullpen in right center to give the Nats a 2-1 lead.
In the top of the 7th with Brandon Kintzler pitching, Amed Rosario lead off lining a single to center. Cabrera then lined a double down the right field line. The speedy Rosario beat the throw at home from Harper which tied the game at 2-2. Cespedes' ground out to short allowed Cabrera to go to third with one out. After pinch hitter Michael Conforto was intentionally walked, Frazier hit a grounder to second. Howie Kendrick bobbled the ball but did throw out Frazier. However, Cabrera was able to score on the bobble to give the Mets a 3-2 lead. d'Arnaud then struck out swinging to end the inning.
The Mets bullpen then shut the door after that. Blevins allowed a walk in the 8th as the only base runner in the final 3 innings. Familia closed things by getting the final 5 outs of the game including a strike out of Taylor in the 9th. The Mets took the first two games in Washington with a 3-2 win in this one after an 8-2 win in the first game.
The Mets will try to go for the sweep tonight against the Nationals at 8pm when Matt Harvey (0-0, 0.00 ERA, 0.49 WHIP) gets his second start of the season against Tanner Roark (1-0, 1.29 ERA, 0.71 WHIP). The game will be nationally televised on ESPN, and can be heard on 710am WOR and 1050am ESPN Deportes.