FLUSHING, QUEENS, NY: Austin Voth finally made his MLB debut, but the New York Mets were able to string together hits against Washington’s 26-year-old right-hander and they scored three in the second and four in the fifth in what ended up a 7-4 win for the home team in Citi Field.
Bryce Harper hit an RBI single off Mets’ starter Zack Wheeler in the sixth, Anthony Rendon drove in a run with a groundout, and Matt Adams hit a two-run home run in the eighth, but it wasn’t enough to avoid a second straight loss in the next-to-last game before the All-Star Break.
Voth vs New York: Called up three times before this and never used, Austin Voth, 26, got the chance to make his MLB debut this afternoon.
The 2013 Nationals’ 5th Round pick had a 3.55 ERA, a 3.16 FIP, 24 walks (2.84 BB/9), and 72 Ks (8.53 K/9) in 15 starts and 76 innings at Triple-A Syracuse in Washington’s system before today.
But the number everyone asked about when he talked to reporters in advance of his first shot at starting in the majors was the number of call-ups.
“How many times up and down?” a reporter asked.
“This is my fourth.”
“And you haven’t gotten in?”
He did today. How did it go? His MLB debut started with a scoreless, 14-pitch first in which he worked around a one-out single.
Back-to-back-to-back singles in the second put him in a tough situation, however, as the Mets loaded the bases with no one out, and a fourth straight hit and sac fly followed, 2-0 New York, and an RBI groundout by Brandon Nimmo made it 3-0.
Voth settled in nicely, however, retiring nine of the next ten Mets’ batters, and he was up to just 70 pitches total after four.
Back-to-back, one-out walks in the fifth pushed him up to 88 pitches, and Michael Conforto hit a 1-2 fastball to right and over the 370ft sign on the outfield wall, 6-0 Mets, and 7-0 after the sixth consecutive batter reached base on an RBI single by Jose Reyes.
That was it for Voth...
Austin Voth’s Line: 4.1 IP, 9 H, 7 R, 7 ER, 3 BB, 3 Ks, 1 HR, 99 P, 62 S, 5/4 GO/FO.
Wheeler vs Washington: Winless in his last 13 outings before today, Zack Wheeler took the mound in the third of four with the Washington Nationals in Citi Field looking to snap that streak, which went all the way back to May 4th. Ouch.
To be fair, he received two runs or fewer or support in six of those thirteen starts, and his numbers over that stretch (4.52 ERA, .253/.327/.361 line against in 77 2⁄3 IP) weren’t really that bad, or at least not (0-5) with the team 2-11 bad.
Wheeler held the Nationals in check through five scoreless this afternoon, limiting the Nats’ struggling offense to one hit and retiring 15 of the first 17 batters he faced as NY jumped out to a 3-0 lead.
It was 7-0 when Wheeler took the mound in the top of the sixth and gave up a single by Adam Eaton, a walk to Juan Soto, and a base-loading hit by Anthony Rendon.
Bryce Harper stepped in next (with a .220 AVG with RISP on the season) and lined an 0-2 pitch back up the middle for an RBI single, 7-1. Matt Adams grounded into a 4-6-3 DP in the next at bat, however, letting Wheeler off the hook in a 20-pitch frame that pushed the Mets’ starter up to 81 overall.
Wheeler worked around a single by Trea Turner for a scoreless seventh, but Eaton (3 for 4) singled to start the eighth and took third on a Soto single. Rendon got another RBI opp in the next at bat, and grounded into a force at second, bringing in a run, 7-2.
Mets’ skipper Mickey Callaway left Wheeler in to face Harper again, at 102 pitches, and he got Harper swinging on his 110th pitch (a 3-2 splitter in the dirt), but Matt Adams took him deep to right for a two-run blast that ended his outing. 7-4 Mets.
Zack Wheeler’s Line: 7.2 IP, 8 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 2 BB, 7 Ks, 1 HR, 113 P, 81 S, 9/3 GO/FO.
Harper’s talk with Davey: Davey Martinez had a talk with Bryce Harper after the 25-year-old slugger failed to hustle to first on a double play grounder last night, but he wasn’t about to share any of the details of that conversation with reporters.
He did stick up for Harper’s overall approach in his pregame press conference, however.
“Here’s a kid, like I said before, he’s all about winning,” Martinez explained. “He wants to win, that’s all he cares about and he goes out there — look, regardless of his average, he’s got 23 home runs and 53 RBIs. I believe that he’s going to hit 40 and drive in a 100, and he plays hard, he really does. One little thing happens and it gets blown out of proportion, but like I’ve said, I’m a big fan of Bryce and I love the kid because of what he brings every day, and I never have to ask him, he always wants to play. I’ve tried to give him days off, nope. He comes in and says, ‘I’m playing, I want to help us win.’ So he’s a good kid, that’s all I can say, he’s a good kid.”
Harper added his 54th RBI in the sixth inning, when he lined an 0-2 pitch from Zack Wheeler up the middle for a bases-loaded single that got the Nationals on the board, down 7-1, but it was just his 14th hit in 60 ABs with runners in scoring position on the season (.233 AVG).
BULLPEN ACTION: Wander Suero took over for Austin Voth in the NY fifth, with the Mets up 7-0, and got the final two outs of the frame. He returned to the mound in the sixth, and he set the Mets down in order.
Suero came back out for the seventh, and worked around a leadoff hit-by-pitch for another scoreless frame.
Mets’ righty Anthony Swarzak got the final out of the Nationals’ eighth after Zack Wheeler gave up three runs.
Matt Grace tossed a scoreless bottom of the eighth.
Mets’ righty Jeurys Familia got the ninth, and retired the side in order.
Final Score: 7-4 Mets.
Nationals now 47-48