Jul 20, 2015, 3:28 PM EST
They were shut out by Clayton Kershaw on Saturday. Then they were shut out by Zack Greinke on Sunday. Now the Nationals have to face Matt Harvey in the opener of a huge series with a Mets club that comes to town a mere 2 games back in the NL East. Tough assignment? You bet.
How good is Harvey? Well, in his six career starts against the Nationals, the right-hander is 3-1 with an 0.68 ERA, 47 strikeouts and nine walks. That’s, uh, very good. Also good, though, is Gio Gonzalez, who over his last three starts is 2-0 with an 0.90 ERA. And those three starts came against the Pirates, Giants and Orioles, three potent lineups.
Still waiting on tonight’s lineup, so be sure to check back for that and for game updates throughout…
NEW YORK METS at WASHINGTON NATIONALS
Where: Nationals Park
Gametime: 7:05 p.m. EDT
TV: MASN, ESPN, MLB.tv
Radio: 106.7 FM, 1500 AM, XM 183
Weather: Humid, 88 degrees, Wind 7 mph out to CF
CF Michael Taylor
2B Danny Espinosa
RF Bryce Harper
3B Yunel Escobar
1B Clint Robinson
SS Ian Desmond
C Jose Lobaton
LF Matt den Dekker
LHP Gio Gonzalez
RF Curtis Granderson
SS Ruben Tejada
3B Daniel Murphy
2B Wilmer Flores
LF John Mayberry Jr.
1B Eric Campbell
CF Juan Lagares
C Anthony Recker
RHP Matt Harvey
HP Mike Winters (cc)
1B Mike Muchlinski
2B Mark Wegner
3B Marty Foster
7:08 p.m. — And we’re underway on a scorching, 94-degree Monday night in the District.
7:32 p.m. — Wow, that was an eventful first inning. The Mets had runners on second and third with one out, but Gio Gonzalez escaped the jam thanks to a comebacker and then a stellar play at third base by Yunel Escobar, who made a backhanded stab of John Mayberry Jr.’s hot smash and then threw across the diamond to end the inning. Probably saved two runs on the play. Then the Nats scored twice off Matt Harvey in the bottom of the first, thanks to a Danny Espinosa drag bunt single, a Bryce Harper walk, an RBI single by Escobar (who is a +3 for the inning, right hockey fans?) and then a broken play that actually paid off for the Nats. When both runners tried to advance on a ball in the dirt, Escobar was about to be thrown out at second base. Except he held up and got into a rundown, which bought Harper time to come all the way around to score. Nicely done by both guys, and so it’s a 2-0 Nats lead after one.
7:54 p.m. — The Mets have a bit of a problem hitting with runners in scoring position. As in, they’re 3 for their last 66 with runners in scoring position, already 0-for-4 tonight. Wow. The Nats also stranded a man in scoring position in the bottom of the second, but that man was there only because Daniel Murphy flat-out dropped Gio Gonzalez’s line drive right at his glove. Still 2-0 Nats after two.
8:20 p.m. — Wow, who saw this one coming tonight? Not Matt Harvey. In his first six career starts against the Nats, he gave up four total runs over 40 innings. Through three innings tonight, he has given up five. Yes, the Nats lead 5-0 thanks to a 2-run double to deep center by Clint Robinson (scoring Espinosa and Harper for the second time in this game) and then another disastrous error by Murphy (this one of the throwing variety). It’s 5-0 as Gonzalez takes the mound for the top of the fourth.
8:43 p.m. — And it’s 5-2 as Gonzalez departs the mound at the end of the fourth. He labored through that inning, though in his defense, he did get a groundball to the right side that would’ve ended the frame if not for Espinosa playing way up the middle and not being able to get to it. Then again, after intentionally walking Anthony Recker to load the bases with two outs, Gonzalez proceeded to give up a 2-run bloop single to Harvey on an 0-2 pitch. That’s frustrating, to say the least. It’s 5-2 Nats after four, with Gio’s pitch count at 84.
8:58 p.m. — Wow, what a catch by Michael Taylor to end the top of the fifth. With two on and two out, Eric Campbell, drilled a ball to the gap in right-center. Taylor somehow tracked it down and made a leaping catch before hitting the out-of-town scoreboard. That’s another huge defensive play by the Nats, who have saved perhaps four runs from scoring with their gloves. Still 5-2 after five.
Chase here taking over for Mark as he writes his game story
9:14 p.m. — The game is still at 5-2 after the sixth inning, as both teams went down in order. Gio was removed with his spot up in the order for Wilmer Difo. Matt Thornton will now pitch the seventh inning in his first appearance since July 10.
9:30 p.m. — Thornton was good and got the Mets out 1-2-3, but Harvey also pitched a clean inning. The score remains 5-2 Nats as Casey Janssen will now take over to start the eighth inning.
9:48 p.m. — Make it 7-2 Nats after a two-run homer by Desmond, his eighth of the season. The big swing followed a single by Robinson. Desmond has two hits on the day and five total bases. Drew Storen will now come in to pitch the ninth.
9:59 p.m. — Daniel Murphy lines out to CF and the Nats have win No. 50 on the season. They beat the Mets in the series opener 7-2.
FINAL NL EAST STANDINGS
ON THE RADIO
As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2015 schedule (subject to change)...
MON: 12:45 p.m.
TUE: 2:30 p.m.
WED: 4:30 p.m.
THU: 2:30 p.m.
FRI: 5:30 p.m.
SAT: 10:30 a.m.
*All times Eastern. You can also listen to the station on 94.3 FM, 92.7 FM and online at ESPN980.com. Click here for past audio clips.
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