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Mets 1, Nats 0: Disappointing season ends with a loss

Oct 4, 2015, 5:44 PM EDT

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GAME IN A NUTSHELL: The Nationals’ season officially came to an end Sunday afternoon in the same ballpark where it unofficially turned two months ago. Ever since suffering a 3-game sweep at Citi Field right after the July 31 trade deadline, this team found itself playing catch-up, ultimately unable to do that to the eventual NL East champion Mets.

They took some solace during Saturday’s day-night-doubleheader, capped by Max Scherzer’s second no-hitter of the season. But they couldn’t finish it off it style, with a lineup completely shut down by Jacob deGrom and a host of New York relievers. Tanner Roark did his part to keep pace, tossing six scoreless innings, but the Nationals bullpen (as was too often the case this year) couldn’t hold on late. Blake Treinen served up a solo homer to Curtis Granderson in the bottom of the eighth, accounting for the only run of the day.

Bryce Harper, meanwhile, couldn’t finish off his MVP season in style. Trying to stave off Miami’s Dee Gordon for the NL batting title, Harper went 1-for-4, finishing with a .330 batting average and making the final out of a disappointing, 83-79 season.

HITTING LOWLIGHT: Harper entered the afternoon neck-and-neck with Gordon for the NL batting title, but this turned out to be a runaway on the final day of the season. Gordon started his game in Philadelphia with three straight hits, while Harper took himself out of the running with three straight groundouts. He did pull off a hustle double with two outs in the ninth, raising his average to .330. But it was too little, too late. It was a struggle down the stretch for the 22-year-old, who never seemed the same after going hitless against the Orioles last week. He may not have won the batting title, but his consolation prize won’t be too shabby: the NL MVP award.

PITCHING HIGHLIGHT: It was a wild, up-and-down year for Roark, who was bounced between starting and relieving roles. But the right-hander finished strong. He tossed six scoreless innings of 3-hit ball in the season finale, doing so against the Mets’ full lineup. Roark certainly appeared to be more comfortable once given a chance to start down the stretch. In six September starts, he posted a 3.98 ERA, finishing with back-to-back quality starts. Overall, Roark ends the season with a 4.38 ERA. What happens to him in 2016? Mike Rizzo suggested he’ll at least be in contention for a rotation spot. But we’ve certainly seen that happen before and not work out how Tanner would have preferred. We’ll see.

KEY STAT: The Nationals are now 855-924 over 11 seasons of baseball in the District. They’ve had four winning seasons, six losing seasons and one .500 season.

UP NEXT: See you in Viera!

  1. philipd763 - Oct 4, 2015 at 5:53 PM

    Great way to end the season with the Rizzo crappy bullpen doing the Nationals in. Beyond that, Papelbon cost Harper the batting title, possibly the home run title and 100 RBIs. Bye to Papelbon and bye to Desi.

    • janebeard - Oct 4, 2015 at 8:42 PM

      I HOPE it’s bye to Papelbon. As for Desi, I feel like someone died. I am beyond sad. If we;d have signed him, he would have had a great year. For Desi, it’s about being Believed In. Frank did. Davey did. I hope the next people do.

  2. Tim - Oct 4, 2015 at 5:54 PM

    Hey: Bryce didn’t make the last out of the season. Take that back!

    • natsfan1a - Oct 4, 2015 at 7:02 PM

      Not Werth it. ūüėČ

  3. section105a - Oct 4, 2015 at 6:26 PM

    Mark – one thing (other than Bryce of course) about the season is not a disappointment, and that is this blog – you provide consistent quality information and analysis and we are really grateful. I especially appreciate your honest analysis even when it is contrary to the team’s official line. Keep it up – and looking forward to next year.

    • Sec 3, My Sofa - Oct 4, 2015 at 6:28 PM

      +105

    • natsfan1a - Oct 4, 2015 at 6:56 PM

      I second that emotion. Thanks, Mark.

    • veejh - Oct 4, 2015 at 9:34 PM

      well said

    • npb99 - Oct 4, 2015 at 11:27 PM

      +83

  4. Sec 3, My Sofa - Oct 4, 2015 at 6:28 PM

    Some things will never end.

  5. Karl Kolchak - Oct 4, 2015 at 6:50 PM

    Top ten positives to come out of the 2015 season:

    1). Harper’s break through to superstardom.
    2). Scherzer’s two near-perfect games.
    3). Rivero comes out of nowhere to look like a possible future closer.
    4). Robinson’s storybook 30-year old rookie season.
    5). Joe Ross’s promising rookie season.
    6). Espinosa resurrects his career as a “super” utility player.
    7). Strasburg’s September dominance (hopefully a preview of his 2016 season).
    8). Escobar sets personal best for base hits.
    9). Zimmerman’s 200th career home run.
    10). Victor Robles becomes an uber-prospect as an 18-year old.

    It will certainly be an interesting off season.

    • ArVAFan - Oct 4, 2015 at 7:04 PM

      Can I add Michael A. Taylor’s development at the plate and in the field? I know that makes 11, but if the National Register can have 11 Endangered Places, can we have 11 good things to come out of the season?

      • Karl Kolchak - Oct 4, 2015 at 7:18 PM

        I really like Taylor, and he certainly had his moments. Unfortunately, he wasn’t quite good enough at the plate (his .282 OBP is ghastly) to be able to definitively determine whether he is the long term answer in CF. Hopefully, he’ll show significant improvements in 2016 and become the 20-20 guy he seems capable of being.

      • janebeard - Oct 4, 2015 at 8:43 PM

        Yes please,Right on.

      • senators5 - Oct 4, 2015 at 8:46 PM

        My hope is that MAT is forced to stay all winter long with a really good nuts and bolts baseball guy who can teach him HOW to play the game. MAT has all the physical tools to become a very good player BUT he has very little baseball smarts, ie when to swing and when not to and of course, base running.

    • janebeard - Oct 4, 2015 at 8:43 PM

      UGGLA taking the game back from the Braves and the turning point in the early season.

  6. Eugene in Oregon - Oct 4, 2015 at 7:03 PM

    It’s still very hard for me to wrap my head around the notion that both the Rangers and (especially) the Astros are still playing, with the Nats going home.

    • ArVAFan - Oct 4, 2015 at 7:09 PM

      Understand, but I figured the season was lost when we were up 7-1 over the Mets–and lost. The last week has felt like a postscript, rather than part of the regular season (albeit with two very nice outings by one Max Scherzer. Pass the Hershey’s.).

      We’ve had four winning seasons in a row: let’s see if Rizzo can fix his mistakes (of commission and omission) this offseason.

  7. janebeard - Oct 4, 2015 at 8:40 PM

    Thank you Mark and Chase for holding down the fort, I became a 1000% Nats fan because of two things: Ian Desmond, and NatsInsider. Happy Hot Stove Season (though I’m having a hard time with how much of what I loved about the Nats going away). Here’s to you guys.

    • natsguy - Oct 5, 2015 at 2:55 AM

      He’s not gone yet. Ya gotta have heart. Especially to be a Nats fan. I became a Senators fan in 1962. That was tough. My Mom spent her time getting my transistor radio out of the trash.

  8. senators5 - Oct 4, 2015 at 11:10 PM

    Thank you to all who post here. As an old time BB guy I really enjoyed the “smartness” of the many posters whether I agreed or not. Keep your wit and enthusiasm for the Nats because some year we will…… I have been a Senators/Nats fanatic since 1950 so I know heartache, BUT I keep coming back. I hope you will too.

  9. NatsNut - Oct 5, 2015 at 6:57 AM

    Mark, you act like you’re going to get a break or something. You may end up being busier in the off season trying to keep up with the changes in this team. ūüôā
    Thanks from me too Mark. You and this blog are awesome.

  10. JamesFan - Oct 5, 2015 at 5:19 PM

    Nobody mentioned Tanner’s terrific start against the first-team Mets. This guy got screwed in the MW regime. Totally mishandled.

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