New York Mets’ pitchers walked 12 batters total and gave up 12 runs in an ugly series finale performance, and Washington’s Nationals took 2 of 3 in Citi Field with a 12-9 win over their NL East rivals in Flushing, Queens.
Scherzer in Citi Field: Max Scherzer was solid in 7 2⁄3 innings against the Mets in the season opener, giving up two hits, three walks, and two runs (both earned), in what ended up a 2-0 loss in the nation’s capital.
Scherzer struck out 12 of the 28 batters he faced in that outing.
“Scherzer was on top of his game,” Mets’ skipper Mickey Callaway told reporters after the Mets’ win. “Our guys didn’t quit.”
The three-time Cy Young Award-winner said it was a good first start that showed him what he needed to work on going forward.
Facing the Mets again this afternoon in Citi Field, after a five-inning outing at home against the Philadelphia Phillies last week, Scherzer worked around a hit-by-pitch in the bottom of the first, and hit an RBI single as part of a five-run second, 5-0 Nationals.
He gave up a run in the Mets’ half of the second, however, when Michael Conforto’s fly to short right turned into a “Little League triple” with Adam Eaton missing a diving attempt, and Wilmer Difo missing the throw in on what would have been a close play at second, 5-1 when Wilson Ramos hit an RBI single through the left side to bring Conforto in.
BONUS FBB POINTS: How do you score this play?
Ah, the ol' ...— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) April 7, 2019
"strike 'em out, throw to third too late to catch the lead runner, but then throw to second to tag 'em while they don't know what's going on"
... double play. pic.twitter.com/Z9MDs9teVp
Scherzer held the Mets there through four, and the Nationals jumped out to a 7-1 lead in the top of the fifth, and a 9-1 lead in the sixth.
Scherzer was up to nine batters in a row set down before he giving up a one-out double by Pete Alonso in the bottom of the sixth, and he hit another batter before stranding both in a 10-pitch frame that left him at 85 pitches overall.
Back-to-back singles in the seventh pushed the righty up to 90 pitches, and a run scored on an RBI double by Brandon Nimmo on Scherzer’s 100th pitch of the game, 12-2.
That was it for Max, though not for his pitching line...
Max Scherzer’s Line: 6.1 IP, 8 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 0 BB, 7 Ks, 100P, 70 S, 4/4 GO/FO.
Wheeler vs Washington: Zack Wheeler surrendered six hits, a walk, and four earned runs in five innings on the mound in Nationals Park in his 2019 debut back on March 31st.
Wheeler told reporters after the outing that he’d relied too much on his fastball and failed to recognize that the Nats’ hitter were hunting his heater early in the count.
“That’s really what I’m upset about,” Wheeler explained, as quoted by North Jersey Record reporter Andy Vazquez. “Just not recognizing that earlier, sort of falling into a routine, and getting caught. ... I’m really frustrated about that.”
Wheeler seemed frustrated early again this afternoon, as he gave up two walks around a broken-bat single in the second, loading the bases with one down. Max Scherzer singled through the left side to drive in the Nationals’ first run, 1-0.
Victor Robles hit a line drive single to right-center in the next at bat, 2-0, and Adam Eaton hit a ground-rule double over Jeff McNeil’s head in left to make it a 4-0 lead, and 5-0 on a Howie Kendrick line drive sac fly to center. Ouch.
Wheeler settled in with a strong third and fourth, but three walks in the fifth loaded’ em up as he approached 100 pitches total, and his seventh walk forced in the Nationals’ sixth run of the game, 6-1. That was it for Wheeler...
Zack Wheeler’s Line: 4.2 IP, 4 H, 7 R, 7 ER, 7 BB, 2 Ks, 103 P, 51 S, 7/2 GO/FO.
Rendon Streaking: Anthony Rendon started the series finale against the Mets with a six-game hit streak going, over which he was 12 for 23 (.522 AVG), and solid career numbers against Mets’ right-hander Zack Wheeler, (10 for 28, .357 AVG), in a small-ish sample size.
Rendon was 0 for 2 with a walk and a run scored after three plate appearances, and he took a second walk in the sixth, which was the Nationals’ 10th walk of the game overall, before a three-run home run in the seventh extended his hit streak to seven-straight games and gave the Nationals a 12-1 lead.
UPDATE:— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) April 7, 2019
April 2: Rendon HR
April 3: Rendon HR
April 4: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
April 5: No Game
April 6: Rendon HR
April 7: Rendon HR pic.twitter.com/y7PY4KDh8x
BULLPEN ACTION: Tim Peterson inherited a bases-loaded, two-out jam from Zack Wheeler and uncorked a wild pitch that allowed the Nationals’ seventh run to score, 7-1.
Victor Robles took the ninth walk of the game from the Mets to lead off the sixth, and stole second, before taking third on a throwing error by Wilson Ramos on the play. Rendon took the 10th walk of the game, Juan Soto took the 11th, loading the bases with two out, and the 12th walk of the game, this one to Ryan Zimmerman, forced in another run, 8-1. Kurt Suzuki hit an RBI single in the next at bat made it 9-1.
Luis Avilán hit Victor Robles with one out and gave up a single by Howie Kendrick with two down, and gave up a three-run blast on a full-count curve that Anthony Rendon crushed 12-1 Nationals. Rendon’s 4th of 2019.
Matt Grace took over for Max Scherzer with two on and one out after the Mets scored a run in the seventh, 12-2, and surrendered an RBI single to right by Jeff McNeil on a 3-2 sinker, 12-3, and 12-6 on a three-run blast by Pete Alonso.
Robert Gsellman tossed a scoreless top of the eighth.
Trevor Rosenthal hit the first batter he faced (Dominic Smith) and uncorked a wild pitch in the second at bat of the inning, then another, moving Smith over to third, and a walk that put two on with no one out ended his outing. Four appearances, nine batters, no outs.
Wander Suero took over and fell behind 3-0 on Amed Rosario before throwing three strikes by the infielder. Keon Broxton K’d swinging through a 3-2 cutter. Two out. Brandon Nimmo? Fly to right for out No. 3.
Seth Lugo threw a quick top of the ninth, and Joe Ross made his 2019 debut out of the ‘pen with a hit-by-pitch on Jeff McNeil in the first at bat, and a walk to Pete Alonso, before he got the first out on a Travis d’Arnaud fly to the track in right-center. Michael Conforto stepped in next ... and hit a 1-1 changeup out to right for a three-run blast, 12-9.
Sean Doolittle had to come on in a game that was 12-1 in the seventh, and he recorded two quick outs to mercifully end what was close to a four-hour game. 12-9 final.
Nationals now 4-4