5. GIO in NYC: Washington Nationals' lefty Gio Gonzalez went just 4 ⅓ innings, giving up four hits, four walks and one earned run in what ended up a 2-1 loss to the Mets in New York's Citi Field back on July 31st, throwing 105 pitches before he was lifted from the game.
"He made some pitches when he had to," Nats' skipper Matt Williams said, "but extended pitch counts just got him.
"Upwards of 100, didn't get through five, so it's a one-run game there, we ended up tying it late, but he just couldn't go any further."
It was the southpaw's second outing against the Nationals' NL East rivals in a two-week span, after he'd given up six hits, three walks and two earned runs in six innings in a 7-2 win over the Mets in Nationals Park.
The start in the Mets' home left the 29-year-old left-hander (6-1) in ten career starts in Flushing, Queens, over which Gonzalez had a 1.68 ERA, 24 walks (3.36 BB/9), 66 Ks (9.23 K/9) and a .164/.247/.236 line against in 64 ⅓ IP.
He took the mound in Citi Field this afternoon coming off a month of September which saw him go (2-1) in five starts with a 2.89 ERA, 2.50 FIP, 13 walks (4.18 BB/9) and 35 Ks (11.25 K/9) in 28 IP over which opposing hitters put up a combined .219/.305/.276 line.
His fourth start of the year against the Mets began with a scoreless, 15-pitch first in which he worked around at two-out single to left by Daniel Murphy.
Travis d'Arnaud doubled to center for the second two-out hit off the Nationals' lefty in two innings, but the Mets' catcher was stranded at the end of a 17-pitch second that left Gonzalez at 32 total after two.
Noah Syndergaard took a leadoff walk in the Mets' third, David Wright walked with one down and Yoenis Cespedes walked with two out to load the bases in front of Michael Cuddyer, who grounded into a force at second to end a 35-pitch third that left Gonzalez at 67 pitches.
Gonzalez retired the side in order in a far more efficient 16-pitch fourth which pushed him up to 83 pitches.
A ten-pitch, 1-2-3 fifth ended with David Wright swinging over a 2-2 bender. 93 pitches total for Gonzalez, six Ks.
Yoenis Cespedes singled through short with one down in the Mets' sixth, but was thrown out on a strike'em out, throw'em out double play that ended a 14-pitch frame and Gonzalez's sixth scoreless. 107 pitches.
• Gio Gonzalez's Line: 6.0 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 7 Ks, 107 P, 64 S, 4/2 GO/FO.
4. Syndergaard vs the Nats: Noah Syndergaard, 23, held the Nationals to one run on five hits and five walks in five innings when he faced the Mets' NL East rivals in Washington, D.C. back on July 22nd, receiving no decision in a 4-3 loss. Ten days later, the rookie right-hander gave up seven hits and two runs in eight solid innings in Citi Field in a 5-2 win for the Mets in which he earned his sixth win of the 2015 campaign.
"We've talked for about the last -- probably his last four or five starts -- how fast he's matured and you don't see that very often," Terry Collins told reporters after Syndergaard struck out nine in the series finale of the Mets' three-game sweep of the Nats.
"He came up here obviously with the big tag of the big arm and probably not as much credit for his knowledge of how to pitch. Everybody saw the power arm in the minor leagues. He's just trying to throw it by guys. This guy knows what he's doing out there, he's got a feel for it. He's adjusted up here, he's made adjustments."
"His confidence in what he's got to do is huge," Collins said, "and if he makes a mistake he doesn't get upset by it, it doesn't bother him. He just goes about his business. He's been really impressive."
In eight starts since he last faced the Nationals, Syngergaard was (3-2) with a 4.66 ERA, 10 walks and 56 Ks in 48 ⅓ IP, over which he had a .238/.454/.731 line against.
He took the mound against Washington for the third time this season (9-7) so far in his first major league season with a 3.34 ERA, 3.26 FIP, 30 walks (1.89 BB/9), 156 Ks (9.82 K/9) and a .228/.272/.383 line against in 143 IP.
Syndergaard's outing began with a quick, 13-pitch, 1-2-3 first which ended with Bryce Harper swinging through a 99 mph 2-2 fastball. A 10-pitch, 1-2-3 second lefty the righty at 23 total after two.
Matt den Dekker doubled to center to start the third and took third base on a swinging strike three by Jose Lobaton on a pitch that got by Mets' catcher Travis d'Arnaud. Gio Gonzalez bunted Lobaton over/gave up an out, Anthony Rendon K'd looking and Yunel Escobar sent a fly to left to strand both runners at the end of a 17-pitch third by Syndegaard, who was up to 40 pitches total after three.
Three weak groundouts got Syndergaard through a quick, 10-pitch fourth that left him at 50 pitches.
A 12-pitch, 1-2-3 fifth gave Syndergaard nine straight outs and five scoreless innings on 62 pitches.
Syndergaard's streak of retired batters ended at eleven when he walked Yunel Escobar with two down in the sixth and he hit Bryce Harper in the back knee with a fastball in the next at bat, but Jayson Werth K'd looking at a low 1-2 heater to end a 22-pitch sixth that left Syndergaard at 84 pitches.
Clint Robinson got hold of a hanging 1-2 curve in the first at bat of the Nats' seventh and hit a solo home run to the upper deck seats in right field in Citi Field, putting the Nationals up 1-0 with his 10th home run of the season.
Syndergaard retired the next three Nats in order, to finish a 17-pitch seventh that left him at 101 pitches.
• Noah Syndergaard's Line: 7.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 10 Ks, 1 HR, 101 P, 70 S, 9/2 GO/FO.
3. Random Game Notes: The New York Mets started the day (5-5) in their last 10 with three straight losses overall.
• The Mets already captured their sixth NL East crown, adding to the ones they won in (1969, 1973, 1986, 1988 and 2006).
• In today's Mets/Nationals-themed "Fun with Arbitrary End Points" segment: New York has struggled against Washington in Citi Field recently, with a 9-27 record against the Nats over the last four seasons.
• In a bonus Mets-themed "Fun with Arbitrary End Points" segment: New York leads the National League in runs (350), ranks second in home runs (99) in 66 games since July 25,th, over which the Mets are 40-22.
• The Mets have hit a franchise record 84 HRs in Citi Field this season.
• A win in any of the three games this weekend would the Nationals their fourth straight winning season.
• It would be the first time the Nationals/Expos have had four straight winnings seasons since 1979-1983 when the Montreal Expos had a winning record in five straight.
• It would be the first time a team had four straight winning season in D.C. baseball history since 1930-33.
• Bryce Harper entered today's doubleheader ranked first in the NL in AVG (.331), SLG (.646), runs scored (117) and Wins Above Replacement (9.4 fWAR), though he dropped to second in OBP (.461) and was tied for second in HRs (41).
2. Turning Point(s): It was a pitchers' duel through six innings, but Clint Robinson got the scoring started in the first at bat of the seventh when he hit a hanging 1-2 curve into the upper deck in right for his 10th home run of the season and a 1-0 Nationals' lead over the 2015 division winners.
• Matt Williams went to the pen for Matt Grace after Blake Treinen put two on with one out in the Mets' seventh, but after Grace got the left-handed hitting Curtis Granderson, the Nats' skipper left his left-hander in against Mets' right-handed hitting outfielder Juan Lagares, and Grace gave up a game-tying single to center. 1-1. Williams went to the pen again for right-hander Rafael Martin at that point... a batter too late.
1. The Wrap-Up: Blake Treinen took over on the mound for the Nationals with a 1-0 lead after Clint Robinson's blast, and gave up a leadoff walk to Lucas Duda. One out later, Ruben Tejada hit a soft liner to center to put two on in front of Curtis Granderson. Nats' skipper Matt Williams went to lefty Matt Grace vs Granderson, lefty vs lefty. Granderson grounded into a force at second, but Grace stayed on for another batter, right-handed hitting Juan Lagares and Lagares came through with a two-out single to center that tied it up. 1-1.
Williams went to the pen again for Rafael Martin vs David Wright and struck the Mets' slugger out to end the seventh.
Addison Reed took over for New York in a 1-1 game in the eighth and gave up a one-out walk to Anthony Rendon, who walked more than he K'd in college. Yunel Escobar sent a grounder to second that should have been good for a double play, but Daniel Murphy bobbled it, settling for the force at second. Given an extra out, Bryce Harper stepped in and hit a hanging slider into the upper deck in right, 3-1 Nationals.
Casey Janssen retired the side in order in a 12-pitch eighth.
Felipe Rivero came out for the save opportunity in the ninth and got Lucas Duda looking with a 2-2 fastball for out no.1. ONE! Travis d'Arnaud chased a high heater for out no.2 and Rivero's second K. Ruben Tejada stepped in with two out, fell behind 0-2 and went down swinging. Ballgame. Save no.2 for Rivero.
Nationals now 82-78