5. Zimmermann vs the Mets: Jordan Zimmermann's first start of the so-called "second half" was over after just four innings, the result of a power failure in bank of lights in Nationals Park which caused a delay that lasted for an hour and twenty-two minutes. Zimmermann gave up three hits, a walk and two runs in those four innings.
After trying to stay loose and throw while he waited for play to resume, it became clear the delay had gone on too long for the 29-year-old right-hander to retake the mound.
"It's unfortunate," Zimmermann told reporters, including ESPN.com's Mark Saxon. "I felt pretty good tonight, and then that happened. It's just one of those things that I guess you can't explain."
The Nationals ended up beating the Los Angeles Dodgers when the suspended game was completed a day later, but Zimmermann didn't figure in the decision.
He remained unbeaten in his last five starts, over which the right-hander is (3-0) with a 1.99 ERA, two walks (0.57 BB/9), 24 Ks (6.82 K/9) and a .225/.250/.342 line against in 31 ⅔ innings pitched.
The outing left Zimmermann with a 3.27 ERA, a 3.27 FIP, 21 walks (1.63 BB/9), 84 Ks (6.54 K/9) and a .270/.310/.365 line against after 115 ⅔ innings.
In 11 starts in the nation's capital this season, Zimmermann was (4-3) in the first half, with a 2.40 ERA, a 3.26 FIP, 14 walks (1.77 BB/9) and 48 Ks (6.06 K/9) in 71 ⅓ IP before taking the mound today.
He was making his second start of the season against the New York Mets this afternoon, after holding the Nats' NL East rivals to one run on five hits in six innings of a 2-1 game in his first start of the season.
Zimmermann's second outing of the year against the Mets began with a line drive single to right field by Mets' leadoff man, Curtis Granderson, and a sac bunt/free out by Ruben Tejada that put a runner in scoring position with one down. Daniel Murphy's groundout to first moved Granderson to third, but Lucas Duda popped up over the infield to strand the game's first baserunner. Eight-pitch frame.
A 10-pitch, 1-2-3 second left Zimmermann at 18 pitches total after two. Two Ks and a fly to right gave Zimmermann nine straight outs at the end of a 15-pitch third. 33 total after three.
Ruben Tejada and Daniel Murphy hit back-to-back singles to start the top of the fourth. Zimmermann got a check-swing strike three with a 1-2 slider inside to Lucas Duda. Wilmer Flores spit on a 1-2 slider outside, and a 2-2 slider, but popped out to left on a full-count slider for out no.2. Kirk Nieuwenhuis stepped in with two down and lined a 2-1 curve up in the zone to the left-center gap for a two-run double. A line drive single to center by Kevin Plawecki drove Nieuwenhuis in for a 3-0 lead. 26-pitch frame, 59 total after four.
With the score 3-1 New York, Zimmermann gave up a leadoff single to left by Juan Lagares and two outs later a line drive by Clint Robinson off Daniel Murphy's bat that sent Lagares around to third. The Nationals challenged the play at third, however, claiming Lagares came off the bag and was tagged, but the ruling on the field was upheld. Lucas Duda grounded out three inches in front of home, however, to end a 17-pitch frame that left Zimmermann at 76 pitches after five.
Zimmermann set the Mets down in order in a quick, 14-pitch sixth. 90 pitches total. A 12-pitch, 1-2-3 seventh left the Nats' starter at 102 pitches.
• Jordan Zimmermann's Line: 7.0 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 0 BB, 6 Ks, 102 P, 71 S, 7/4 GO/FO.
4. Syndergaard vs the Nats: Noah Syndergaard, 22, was drafted by Toronto with the 38th pick in the 1st Round of the 2010 Draft, then traded to the New York Mets in the December 2012 deal that sent R.A. Dickey to the Blue Jays.
Syndergaard spent two seasons in the Mets' system before he was called up to make his MLB debut back on May 12th.
In his first 12 starts, the Mansfield, Texas-born, 6'6'' right-hander went (4-5) with a 3.05 ERA, a 2.69 FIP, 15 walks (1.83 BB/9), 78 Ks (9.53 K/9) and a .229/.275/.360 line against in 73 ⅔ innings pitched.
The rookie right-hander has struggled, comparatively, away from Citi Field, however, with a 4.73 ERA (vs 1.74), a 3.28 FIP (vs 2.24), and a .261/.312/.477 line against in 32 ⅓ IP (vs a .200/.242/.257 line against in 41 ⅓ IP in NY).
Syndergaard gave up two runs or less in five of his last six outings, surrendering only one run in four of the six, over which he put up a 2.08 ERA and a .174/.221/.290 line against in 39 innings.
"He was outstanding," Terry Collins told reporters, including New York Newsday's Marc Carig, after Syndergaard started the second-half with a seven inning outing against the St. Louis Cardinals in which he gave up five hits, a walk and two earned runs in what ended up a 3-2 loss.
"He's legit, a legit guy," Collins said. "He mixes up his pitches, he throws them for strikes, he's just really good."
Syndergaard took the mound in the series finale this afternoon, facing the Washington Nationals for the first time in his major league career and retired the side in order in a quick, 12-pitch frame.
Wilson Ramos singled with two down in the bottom of the second and Ian Desmond walked to put two on. Matt den Dekker took the second straight walk in front of Jordan Zimmermann, but Syndergaard got a one-hopper back to the mound that he knocked down before throwing to first to end a 23-pitch frame that left him at 35 total after two.
Bryce Harper hit a two-out, one-hopper toward second, or short right, where Wilmer Flores misplayed it into a hit.
Dan Uggla walked to put two on in front of Clint Robinson, who rolled over a 2-1 change and grounded out to first to end a 22-pitch third. 57 total.
Ian Desmond sent a chopper back up the middle for a one-out single in the Nationals fourth, then stole second with Matt den Dekker at the plate. den Dekker walked, taking the fourth free pass of the game from Syndergaard. Jordan Zimmermann got behind 0-2 trying to bunt the runners over/give up an out/avoid a double play, and he fouled off the 0-2 pitch for out no.2, but Michael Taylor stepped in with two on and two out and sent an RBI single through short to bring Desmond in and make it 3-1 NY. 81 pitches for Syndergaard after a 24-pitch frame.
Bryce Harper singled to right to start the Nats' fifth, but Dan Uggla grounded into a 4-6-3 DP in the next AB. Clint Robinson took the fifth walk of the game from Syndergaard in his two-out at bat, bringing Wilson Ramos up, but a groundout to third ended a 17-pitch frame that pushed the Mets' starter up to 98 pitches.
• Noah Syndergaard's Line: 5.0 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 5 BB, 4 Ks, 98 P, 53 S, 6/1 GO/FO.
3. Random Game Notes: The Nationals and Mets will meet nine more times this season after today's series finale in the nation's capital. The Mets have already as many games (4 of 9) this season as they did in 2014 (4 of 19).
• Since 2005, in the overall matchup between the NL East rivals, the Nationals hold a 102-90 advantage in the head-to-head series.
Pre-game temp for today's matinee: pic.twitter.com/EXpCwtAomU— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) July 22, 2015
• So far this season, the Mets are 6-3 in rubber matches, and 4-3 in rubber matches on the road.
• Last night's win was the Mets' 22nd comeback win, which is the seventh-most in the majors this season.
• Not a night team? The Mets were 23-8 in day games heading into this afternoon's series finale in the nation's capital.
• Wilson Ramos homered in last night's game, driving in the only two runs the Nationals scored. In his career, the 27-year-old backstop is now 54 for 159 (.340/.359/.591), with 13 doubles, nine home runs in 45 games against the Mets.
• Over his last six starts, for today's "Fun with arbitrary end points" segment, Noah Syndergaard is (2-1) with a 2.08 ERA and a .174 BAA in 39 IP.
• Bryce Harper entered today's series finale 2 for 13 on the homestand, in what might be described as a "mini-slump" if you didn't consider the pitching he and the Nationals have faced.
• Yunel Escobar left the game after apparently injuring his wrist on an attempted check swing on a fastball inside. Escobar tossed his bat and fell to the ground in obvious pain after the swing. He stayed in, fouling off the next pitch, but left immediately after that...
2. Turning Point(s): New York Mets' skipper Terry Collins, in a questionable move, bunted in the second at bat of this afternoon's game/gave up an out after Curtis Granderson lined the first pitch from Jordan Zimmermann to right after a single. Playing for one run, early in the game, the Mets got nothing when Zimmermann worked around the hit in an 8-pitch opening frame.
• Zimmermann was one out away from escaping a jam in the fourth, after giving up back-to-back singles to start the inning, but he left a curve up in the zone for Kirk Nieuwenhuis, who hit a two-run double to the left-center gap and then scored on a second-straight hit, an RBI single to center by Kevin Plawecki. 3-0 NY in the fourth.
• Opposing hitters were 0 for the last 22 against Noah Syndergaard with runners in scoring position when Michael Taylor stepped in with two on and two out in the Nationals' half of the fourth, after Jordan Zimmermann K'd trying to bunt with runners on first and second, but Taylor snapped the Mets' starter's streak with an RBI single to left-center that brought Ian Desmond in to make it a 3-1 game in New York's favor.
• The Nationals looked like they might waste another opportunity in the eighth, when they put two runners on with one out, but Michael Taylor came through with a two-out, two-run single that tied it and then scored on a double by Danny Espinosa to put the Nationals ahead.
1. The Wrap-Up: Right-hander Hansel Robles took over for the Mets in the bottom of the sixth inning and gave up an infield single by Ian Desmond and a walk to Matt den Dekker in the first two at bats. Jordan Zimmermann bunted both runners over/gave up an out. Michael Taylor fell behind 0-2 quickly and K'd swinging at a 96 mph 2-2 heater up high for out no.2. Danny Espinosa stepped in with two on and two out and grounded out to short. Two runners stranded. 1 for 7 with RISP. 10 LOB. 3-1 Mets.
Jenrry Mejia took the mound in the bottom of the seventh inning and retired the Nationals in order in a 14-pitch frame.
Matt Thornton came on for the Nationals in the top of the eighth, and retired the Mets in order in a 10-pitch frame.
Bobby Parnell gave up a one-out walk to Ian Desmond and Matt den Dekker followed with a single to short-center field. Tyler Moore came up in a pinch hit opportunity... and lined out to left. BABIP'd.
Michael Taylor came up with two on and two out and got to a full count, checking his swinging on a curve in the dirt that got away from Kevin Plawecki, then drove both runners in with a single to left field. 3-3 game. Taylor then stole second with Danny Espinosa up and scored on Espinosa's double to left. 4-3 Nationals.
Drew Storen came on looking for save no.29 of 2015 and retired the Mets in order. Ballgame. Big win.4-3 final.
Nationals now 51-42