Today's Top 5:
5. Opening Day Stras: In his final spring tune-up today before Opening Day next Monday in Citi Field in New York, 25-year-old Washington Nationals' right-hander Stephen Strasburg faced the same Mets he'll see again in under a week.
Strasburg entered the game with a (3-0) record after four Grapefruit League starts and 14 IP this spring over which he'd put up a 0.64 ERA, allowing eight hits and one earned run while walking four, striking out 10 and holding opposing hitters to a .178 BAA. He held the Mets to three runs on five hits in 5 2/3 innings on the mound today in Viera, Florida's Space Coast Stadium in a game the Nats ended up winning, 6-3.
Here's what happened...
4. Strasburg Watch: Stephen Strasburg missed with a 3-2 fastball low in the zone to Mets' leadoff man Eric Young, walking the first batter he faced in this afternoon's game. Strasburg got up 0-2 on NY outfielder Juan Lagares with an over-the-top 0-1 curve, "missed" with a fastball that Hunter Wendlestedt called outside, but followed that up with a 1-2 sinker that got him a grounder back to the mound to start a 1-6-3 DP. David Wright lined a 2-0 pitch to center where Denard Span was waiting to catch out no.3 of a 13-pitch first inning by the Nats' '09 no.1 overall pick.
Anthony Rendon was out on the short right grass waiting for Curtis Granderson's groundout for the first out of the Mets' second, Chris Young flew to right on a 94 mph 1-2 fastball and Ike Davis rolled over a 1-1 change, sending a weak grounder into a Nationals' defensive shift that had Ryan Zimmerman fielding the grounder at second and throwing to first across his body, ending Stephen Strasburg's second scoreless inning after 10 pitches with the right-hander at 23 pitches overall.
Mets' catcher Travis D'Arnaud took a 1-2 curve outside Hunter Wendlestedt didn't like, then flew to left on a 2-2 curve that kept on sailing out to left... and... over the wall for a solo blast and a 1-0 lead.
Strasburg threw a 94 mph 0-2 fastball by the opposing pitcher, Zach Wheeler, for out no.1 of the 3rd and K no.1 of the game. Ruben Tejada, batting ninth, went ahead 3-0, but Strasburg got to a full count before walking the Mets' shortstop. Eric Young got hold of a 3-1 fastball and drove it to right, allowing Tejada to score from first for a 2-0 lead on the RBI triple. Strasburg threw 1-2 change up high in the zone that got Juan Lagares swinging for out no.2, but David Wright lined an 0-1 fastball to left for an RBI single that scored Young from third and made it 3-0 Mets. Curtis Granderson flew out to left on a 94 mph 1-2 fastball that ended a 29-pitch top of the third that left Strasburg at 52 pitches overall.
Strasburg followed up on a curve outside with a change low and away to get up 0-2 on Chris Young in the first at bat of the fourth, and a brutal, darting 1-2 change inside completely fooled the Mets' outfielder. Ike Davis was behind 1-2 when he took a fastball outside that caught the corner of the zone for a called third strike. Strasburg's 64th pitch was a first-pitch fastball to Travis D'Arnaud that was rolled out to Ian Desmond short, ending a 12-pitch, 1-2-3 frame by the Nationals' right-handed starter.
FBB's Recommended Reading:
The Mets' fifth inning started with a weak groundout to second by Darrell Ceciliani on Strasburg's 66th pitch of the game. HIs 67th was a first pitch curve to Ruben Tejada that fell in for a called first strike. An 83 mph change outside got Strasburg up 0-2 and an 88 mph slider outside caught the corner outside for a called third strike, out no.2 and K no.5 on the day. Eric Young got a first-pitch curve too on Strasburg's 70th pitch, and popped to left on pitch no.71. Seven-pitch inning.
Juan Lagares poked a single to center to start the Mets' sixth. Strasburg threw a 92 mph 0-2 fastball by Josh Satin for out no.1 of the sixth and K no. 6 in 5.1 IP. New York outfielder Aaron Brown took a 1-0 fastball through short for a one-out single. Anthony Seratelli chased an 0-1 change off the plate outside and K'd swinging on a 94 mph 1-2 fastball that ended Strasburg's day after 84 pitches and seven strikeouts.
Strasburg's Line: 5.2 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 7 Ks, 1 HR, 5 GO, 84 P.
2. Nationals' Runs: Denard Span and Anthony Rendon hit back-to-back infield singles with one down in the Nats' third, and both runners scored, after a Jayson Werth walk loaded the bases, when Ryan Zimmerman drove them in with a single through the left side of the infield on a 2-2 curve from Zack Wheeler. 3-2 Mets. Wheeler threw a 3-2 fastball low and away to 21-year-old slugger Bryce Harper in the next at bat, and Harper took it all the way the other way for a three-run opposite field home run that made it 5-3 Nationals after three.
Ian Desmond singled with one down in the Nats' fifth, then took second on a delayed steal and scored on an RBI hit by Jose Lobaton to make it 6-3 Nationals over the Mets.
Ryan Zimmerman, Jayson Werth and Bryce Harper took back-to-back-to-back, two-out walks in front of Desmond in the Nationals' sixth, but Mets' right-hander Jeurys Familia got the Nats' shortstop swinging for the final out of the frame.
1. Wrapping Up: Jerry Blevins got the final out of the sixth after Stephen Strasburg was done and he came back out for another inning of work in the top of the seventh and retired the Mets in order. Josh Satin singled with two down against Ryan Mattheus in the eighth, and Andrew Brown followed with what was originally ruled a single to center that Denard Span trapped, but upon further review, it was ruled a catch and out no.3 of the inning. #replaywin.
Ryan Zimmerman hit a solo home run to left off Bobby Parnell to give the Nationals a 7-3 lead after eight.
Xavier Cedeno worked a scoreless inning in the ninth and the Nats won it.
Nationals win, 7-3 final.