After the New York Mets took two of three from the Washington Nationals in the season-opening series in the nation's capital, Nats' skipper Matt Williams was asked for his thoughts on the Mets, who, a reporter said, were expected to be chasing the Nationals for the NL East crown this season.
"Well, right now we're chasing the Mets," Williams politely corrected the reporter who asked.
"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."
That "next time" is now. Going into the four-game, long-weekend set in Citi Field, the Nationals are still chasing the Mets, who are off to a somewhat surprising 15-7 start to the season.
The Nats, 9-13 after taking two of three from the Braves in Atlanta, start the series six games back in the NL East division they ran away with last season. Now they have a shot to close the gap.
Stephen Strasburg vs Jacob deGrom tonight at 7:10 PM EDT. Until then, links and lots of them to catch you up on the last 24 hours of Nationals-related news...
Up First: Though he wasn't completely clear about his feelings, Nats' GM Mike Rizzo did share his thoughts on the possibility of having the DH in the National League...
Mike Rizzo does not like the DH...
Listen to Rizzo's interview with 106.7 the FAN in D.C.'s Grant Paulsen and Danny Rouhier here:
• "There is absolutely no chance that Nationals General Manager Mike Rizzo’s thoughts on the designated hitter will be misconstrued." - "Nationals GM Mike Rizzo would hate to see the DH in the National League" - Scott Allen, The Washington Post
NATS BEAT: Nationals roster moves; Rendon updates; Scherzer vs the Mets + more
• "For the fourth day in a row, Anthony Rendon was not in the Class AA Harrisburg lineup on Wednesday." - "Anthony Rendon sitting out again at Harrisburg (UPDATED)" - James Wagner, The Washington Post
• "'He’s a guy with really good stuff,' Rizzo said. 'And every time I’ve seen him pitch, be it in the minor leagues or as an amateur or big-league camp, he’s thrown extremely well for us." - "Taylor, Solis called up; Johnson to DL; Cole sent down" - Mark Zuckerman, Nats Insider
• "It's possible the Nationals could also see a fifth pitcher making a major league debut this month after recalling left-hander Sammy Solis from Double-A Harrisburg." - "Nationals Pastime: Nats recall rookies Michael A. Taylor and Sammy Solis" - Chris Johnson, MASNSports.com
• "Solis, 26, has never pitched in the Majors and could become the fifth rookie to make his big league debut for the Nationals this season." - "Nats promote prospects Solis, Taylor from Minor Leagues" - Jon Cooper, nationals.com
• "Solis has undergone Tommy John surgery, endured shoulder fatigue and recovered from back spasms, just a mention a few of the obstacles..." - "Solis has battled injuries to finally get big league chance" - Byron Kerr, MASNSports.com
Solis has battled injuries to finally get big league chance http://t.co/LvR8Zvl6N3— Byron Kerr (@masnKerr) April 29, 2015
NATS VS METS:
• "While the Mets hit Strasburg in his home ballpark, the ace has had his way with them on the road. He is 3-1 with a 1.97 ERA in five career starts at Citi Field." - "Washington Nationals at New York Mets - April 30, 2015" - Jon Cooper, MLB.com Preview
• "Escobar, who is out after being spiked in his left hand Monday night, was able to participate in full batting practice and take pregame grounders today." - "Nationals Pastime: Scherzer set to return Friday, while Rendon and Escobar are still on the mend" - Chris Johnson, MASNSports.com
• "When Scherzer reported to Turner Field before Wednesday’s game, he felt good. So the Nationals opted to slot him in Friday." - "Max Scherzer will indeed start Friday in New York" - Chelsea Janes, The Washington Post
• "Scherzer admitted that he hated missing a start, but he is relieved that it was only one start and that the problem wasn't bigger." - "Scherzer gives green light for start vs. Mets" - Jon Cooper, nationals.com
• "The Mets currently lead the Nationals by six games — the lead had been eight games two days ago..." - "Big series this weekend? You bet!" - Mark Zuckerman, Nats Insider
Asked Scherzer why pour chocolate syrup on Uggla last night? Said it was spur of the moment thing. "This might stick now." Well, yeah...— Mark Zuckerman (@ZuckermanCSN) April 29, 2015
• "Even though the Nats will miss 42-year-old ageless wonder Bartolo Colon in this four-game series, they'll be tested by a rotation that's reeling off quality starts at a 70 percent rate." - "Nationals Buzz: Opposite dugout: Mets and Nats have traveled different paths since opening week" - Pete Kerzel, MASNSports.com
Rest of the links and stuff... like beating the Braves stories:
• "HITTING HIGHLIGHT: This was going to go to Zimmermann, whose 3-run single helped break the game open." - "Nats 13, Braves 4: Bats stay red-hot, set franchise record" - Mark Zuckerman, Nats Insider
Freddie Freeman vs. the Nats since the start of last season: 40-for-85, 9 2B, 4 HR, 11 RBI, 6 BB. Batting line:.471/.505/.718.— Andrew Simon (@AndrewSimonMLB) April 30, 2015
• "Fueled by a four-run fourth inning, the Nats stormed back to take the lead. Harper got things going with a rocket off the right field wall that went for a double." - "Nationals Pastime: Offense erupts in Nats' 13-4 win" - Chris Johnson, MASNSports.com
• "I’m going to look at it for a little bit. I’m not going to dwell on it or hold onto it," Cole said. "The game’s over. It’s in the past now. So I’m not going to keep looking at it." - "A.J. Cole struggles in major league debut" - Chelsea Janes, The Washington Post
• "Nats' bats awake: The 13-run outburst on Tuesday night was no fluke, as the Nationals again came out swinging on Wednesday." - "Nats ride Zimmermann's bat, arm in win over Braves" - Mark Bowman and Jon Cooper, nationals.com
• "When asked about his game-breaking base knock, Zimmermann used the postgame stage to take a playful jab at Scherzer." - "Nationals Pastime: In offensive assault, Jordan Zimmermann delivered the biggest blow" - Chris Johnson, MASNSports.com
• "And so now, in the wake of 13-12 and 13-4 victories at Turner Field, the narrative has been flipped onto its head. The supposedly offensively challenged Nationals suddenly can’t be stopped." - "Confident once again, Nats’ lineup is on fire" - Mark Zuckerman, Nats Insider
• "After Zimmermann’s hit, Denard Span heard teammates yell, 'Who needs the DH? [Bleep] the DH!' 'Not out of my mouth,' Zimmermann said..." - "Jordan Zimmermann delivers at the plate and on the mound in 13-4 win over Braves" - Chelsea Janes, The Washington Post
• "Pardon Jordan Zimmermann if he begs to differ with Nationals teammate Max Scherzer on the subject of pitchers hitting and the designated hitter." - "Zimmermann sporting serious hitting shoes" - Jon Cooper, nationals.com
• "Redemption will be on Strasburg's mind, as the Mets roughed him up for six runs (three earned) on nine hits in 5 1/3 innings on April 9..." - "Washington Nationals at New York Mets - April 30, 2015" - Jon Cooper, MLB.com Preview
Boz's Latest Column:
• "On Wednesday, the Nats became the first Washington team since 1952 to score 13 runs in consecutive games, drubbing the Braves, 13-4." - "Thomas Boswell: Is the Nats’ dramatic 13-12 win over the Braves the spark the team needed?" - Thomas Boswell, The Washington Post
NATIONAL(S) BEAT: ST Stadium updates + more
• "If Gov. Rick Scott signs the law as expected, that clears the way for the county, the city and the teams this summer to finalize the stadium deal and start construction." - "Legislature OKs allowing Palm Beach County stadium" - Andy Reid, Sun Sentinel
• "What passed: A bill that makes extra land available in Palm Beach County for a two-team baseball spring training complex..." - "Florida Legislature: What passed, failed and lies in limbo" - Gray Rohrer, Dan Sweeney, Orlando Sentinel
• "The Florida Senate unanimously passed a bill Wednesday that advances efforts to bring the Houston Astros and Washington Nationals to West Palm Beach." - "Senate passes bill advancing spring training complex in West Palm" - John Pancenti, Post On Politics
NATS vs METS:
• "Even now, after the terrible start, I still think the Nats will win the East because those names on paper have not gone away..." - "Season already at tipping point for preseason favorite Nationals" - Joel Sherman, New York Post
• Low-A Hagerstown: "With the Suns up 1-0 in the bottom of the second inning the game had been suspended due to rain." - "Suns split day with West Virginia" - Eli Pearlstein, Hagerstown Suns News
• "After plans fizzled for a new stadium in Fredericksburg, Va., officials in a neighboring Virginia county are considering a proposal that would bring the Hagerstown Suns just a bit farther south." - "Another Suns stadium proposal sprouts in Va." - CJ Lovelace, Herald Mail Media: Local News
The P-Nats are back at The Pfitz on Tuesday for a 7-game homestand. Includes a Rendon t-shirt giveaway! Full Preview: http://t.co/pKfvmMAmGy— Potomac Nationals (@PNats42) April 30, 2015
• High-A Potomac: "The ace of the P-Nats staff RHP Wander Suero (3-1, 3.60) took the ball for the fourth time in 2015 looking to play the stopper in Winston-Salem." - "Potomac Nationals vs. Winston-Salem Dash Game Recap April 29th, 2015" - Potomac Nationals News
• Double-A Harrisburg: "In an odd sequence of events, Senators' outfielder Brian Goodwin worked a walk with the bases loaded to cap off a three-run ninth inning as Harrisburg topped New Britain..." - "Senators Storm Back To Win By Walk-Off" - Perry Mattern, Harrisburg Senators News
• Triple-A Syracuse: "The win snapped the Chiefs' four-game losing streak. Richard Bleier was superb in a spot start, holding the PawSox to one run on six hits in six innings, working on just two day's rest." - "Syracuse Chiefs beat Pawtucket Red Sox, 5-1, Ian Stewart, Jason Martinson, Richard Bleier" - Syracuse Chiefs News
• "Taylor has appeared in seven games for Syracuse this year. He's hit .417 (10-for-24) for the Chiefs..." - "Washington Nationals recall outfielder Michael Taylor from Syracuse Chiefs, return pitcher A.J. Cole" - Lindsay Kramer, syracuse.com
• "After starting the season mired in an 0-for-22 sump, C Pedro Severino is 17-for-31 (.548) with two doubles, two home runs, 12 RBI, five walks and nine runs scored in his last nine games..." - "Nationals Minor League Report — April 29, 2015" - Kyle Brostowitz, Curly W Live
• NL EAST UPDATES: Braves' struggles; Phils' offense; Mets' skid; Fish bytes
• Marlins: "Gordon collected two more hits on Wednesday, bringing his total for the month to 38. Only Mike Lowell in 2002 had more hits in April -- 40." - "Dee Gordon's April was one for the record books" - Clark Spencer, Fish Bytes
• Phillies: "The top of the fifth inning Wednesday seemed to encapsulate why the Phillies have the lowest-scoring team in baseball." - "Fifth inning encapsulates Phils' offensive shortcomings" - Todd Zolecki, phillies.com
• Mets: "The Mets lost four of six games during stops in the Bronx and Miami." - "New York Mets on skid as they return home" - Adam Rubin, Mets Blog - ESPN
• Braves: "Unfortunately for Freeman and Pierzynski, their recent offensive contributions have been blemished by the 5.64 ERA Atlanta's pitching staff has posted..." - "Freeman's red-hot bat a bright spot for Braves" - Mark Bowman, braves.com
• "The Braves certainly aren't in a comfortable situation as they have lost seven of their last nine games." - "Wood pays heavy price in decisive fourth inning" - Mark Bowman, braves.com