The New York Mets beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 13-7 on Monday night to take a 2-1 lead in their best-of-five NLDS matchup, leaving the NL East champions one win away from a trip to the National League Championship Series with either the St. Louis Cardinals or the Chicago Cubs (who lead that series, 2-1).
After the first series this season, which the Mets took, 2-1, now-former Nationals' manager Matt Williams was asked for his thoughts on the future division winners, who, a reporter noted at the time, were expected to chase Washington as the Nats tried to win the East for the second year in a row.
"Well, right now we're chasing the Mets," Williams corrected the reporter.
"I'll tell you that. So, they're 2-1, we're 1-2. They've got a really good team. They do a lot of things well on the baseball field. They're balanced offensively. Their starting pitching is really good. They had a loss at the back of their bullpen, but they've got somebody to step in and do that job. They've got good lefty matchups and guys that can fill the middle that can go multiple innings for them. So they play the game well. We'll have to play well if we're going to beat them. And they came through in this series a couple of times when they needed to, and pitched well and they beat us two out of three and we'll see if we can return the favor next time."
The Mets took 11 of 19 games with the Nationals this season after Washington won 15 of 19 in 2014.
The Nationals chased the Mets for the first month plus of the season and took over first in mid-May, but gave it back for good in the first week of August, when they got swept in three-straight in Citi Field, dropped four straight overall to start the month and lost 13 of 18 over the first three weeks.
While acknowledging the role that the injuries the Nats dealt with played in how things turned out, Jayson Werth told reporters after yet another loss to the Mets in the season finale, that the reason the Nationals lost the division was simple.
"We didn't win games," he said. "You look at what the Mets did down the stretch, that's how you win a division.
"They got timely hitting, timely pitching. They matched up well, they won big games, they got big hits and we failed to do that. So, regardless of injuries or anything else I think that's the story at the end of the day."
Now the Mets are a win away from the NLCS the Nationals failed to reach in 2012 or 2014... and Washington is in the market for a new manager...
Nationals' Manager Search Updates:
• "There's always an unknown quantity when a guy hasn't done it before. No candidate is perfect, but Ripken is close." - "Cal Ripken Jr. perfect Nats manager candidate" - Richard Justice, MLB.com
• "The Nationals have asked and were given permission by the Diamondbacks to talk to their Class AAA manager, Phil Nevin, about Washington’s managerial vacancy, according to people familiar with the situation." - "Phil Nevin is on the Nationals’ radar; notes on Cal Ripken, Don Wakamatsu, Dave Martinez" - James Wagner, The Washington Post
Phil Nevin has interest from Nats, who have permission to talk to him http://t.co/tszOrDmoaG Also: notes on Ripken, Wakamatsu & Martinez.— James Wagner (@JamesWagnerWP) October 9, 2015
• "While he is a popular choice, the Nationals have not contacted Ripken about the managerial opening, according to two sources." - "Mike Rizzo eyes Nationals manager candidates" - Bill Ladson, MLB.com
The #Nats have not contacted #Ripken; Rizzo prioritizing experience as manager interviews begin http://t.co/YTOyG3Ss5G #Nats #MLB #Nationals— William Ladson (@washingnats) October 12, 2015
• "If the Nationals place a call to Cal Ripken during their search for Manager Matt Williams’s replacement, the Iron Man wouldn’t let it go straight to voicemail." - "Cal Ripken Jr. says he’d answer the phone if the Nats call" - Scott Allen, The Washington Post
• "Ripken would be a top-of-the-line consultant for the Nationals and would be a great advisor, but I do not believe he is the right choice at this juncture to be their manager." - "Nationals would be wise to continue relationship with Ripken, just not as manager" - Byron Kerr, MASNSports.com
Ripken would be a great advisor for the #Nats, just not in a managerial role says @masnKerr: http://t.co/kumAveIF4M pic.twitter.com/4Ed3qKHTl2— Nationals on MASN (@masnNationals) October 12, 2015
The #Nats announced the following personnel moves on Monday: pic.twitter.com/iX53c3qC2S— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) October 12, 2015
• "Randy Knorr, Bobby Henley and Matt LeCroy are back in the Nationals' organization. It comes a week after their contracts were not renewed as Major League coaches." - "Randy Knorr, coaches rejoin Nationals" - Bill Ladson, nationals.com
• "Knorr will be in uniform in the minor leagues and described the position, which was Rizzo’s idea, as a bench coach across the entire system." - "Randy Knorr, Bobby Henley and Matt LeCroy stay with the Nationals in new roles" - James Wagner, The Washington Post
• "The Nationals announced Monday that three of the coaches that did not have their contracts renewed with the major league club will stay in the organization in different roles." - "Knorr, LeCroy and Henley stay with Nationals in new roles, Daubach promoted" - Byron Kerr, MASNSports.com
• "Three members of the Nationals’ coaching staff who were dismissed with manager Matt Williams last week will remain with the organization in new roles next season, the club announced Monday." - "Trio of Nats coaches will remain in organization" - Mark Zuckerman, CSN Mid-Atlantic
• "Some observers wondered if Desmond, coming off the worst season of his major league career, might be a candidate to accept the qualifying offer." - "Nationals Pastime: The Nationals and qualifying offers" - Pete Kerzel, MASNSports.com
• "Perhaps the Nationals’ starting rotation could never be as good as it was supposed to be, because it was supposed to be legendary." - "Nationals positional review, part 1: Starting rotation" - Chelsea Janes, The Washington Post
Randy Knorr, Bobby Henley & Matt LeCroy get new roles with the Nats. http://t.co/hWEYGLjLsb Doesn't preclude other opportunities.— James Wagner (@JamesWagnerWP) October 12, 2015
• "Not only will the players that step onto the field next season be guided by a new skipper, there also will need to be players in the clubhouse that lead by example." - "Searching for Adam LaRoche" - Byron Kerr, MASNSports.com
• "It's funny now to think about how many questions there were surrounding Bryce Harper at the start of the season." - "Roster review: Bryce Harper" - Mark Zuckerman, CSN Mid-Atlantic
• "More than 1,400 fans flocked to Nationals Park over the weekend, many of them with hopes of hitting a home run to win free season tickets for 2016..." - "No one hit a homer, but ‘Swing for Your Seats’ was a thrill for Nats fans" - Scott Allen, The Washington Post
• "From the perspective of the clubhouse, Clippard said, the Mets have handled the Harvey situation better than the Nationals handled the Strasburg situation." - "After much drama, Mets' Matt Harvey is set to face Dodgers in playoffs" - Bill Shaikin, LA Times
Bryce Harper's performance in 2015 was remarkable, making him Major League Player of the Year http://t.co/k4QtKREE3a pic.twitter.com/rKicbtaW6V— Baseball America (@BaseballAmerica) October 12, 2015
• "Washington Nationals shortstop Ian Desmond said: 'Clean or dirty doesn't matter at this point. Dodgers not giving the runs back. Chase will gladly take repercussions.'" - "Emotions high as Mets-Dodgers series shifts to New York" - Larry Fine, Reuters
• "Former Minnesota Twins skipper Ron Gardenhire is expected to interview for the Padres' managerial job, according to sources." - "Padres to interview Ron Gardenhire for manager" - Dennis Lin, SanDiegoUnionTribune.com
Sources: The Padres will interview Ron Gardenhire for their managerial opening. http://t.co/IkInzmzDFr— Dennis Lin (@dennistlin) October 13, 2015
• "A Washington Post story last week reported that the Reds and Nationals came close on the Chapman deal at the deadline, but the Reds wanted two of Washington's top five prospects." - "Should the Reds trade Chapman?" - John Fay, Cincinnati.com
Jacob Silverman for @nytimes - "Letter of Recommendation: Vin Scully" - http://t.co/VzXpXyGnHd— federalbaseball (@federalbaseball) October 11, 2015
NATIONAL LEAGUE EAST UPDATES: Phillies' top pick; Mets vs Dodgers; Braves' hires, Marlins' roster
• Phillies: "There is no consensus No. 1 pick in next year's Draft. There is no Stephen Strasburg or Bryce Harper. There is no no-brainer, but there are some talented pitchers..." - "Phillies scouting for No. 1 Draft pick" - Todd Zolecki, MLB.com
• Mets: "Rather than line up with other reserves along the first-base line, the Mets saved Tejada’s pregame entrance for just before the introduction of the starters." - "New York Mets get revenge on Los Angeles Dodgers ... by winning Game 3" - Adam Rubin, Mets Blog - ESPN
UTLEY U BUTTLEY!!! pic.twitter.com/Lj6xEXgCIX— #LGM (@NotDWright) October 13, 2015
• Marlins: "The decision to remove [Donovan] Solano from the 40-man roster makes Miguel Rojas the early favorite to secure the utility infield spot in Spring Training." - "Marlins outright Donovan Solano to Triple-A" - Joe Frisaro, marlins.com
• Braves: "The Braves announced on Monday that Simmons, Matt Kinzer and Leon Wurth have been hired to serve as Major League scouts. Former Fangraphs lead analyst Kiley McDaniel has also been added to provide an analytical voice while serving as the assistant director of baseball operations." - "Ted Simmons joins Braves as Major League scout" - Mark Bowman, braves.com