Mets Drop Second Straight to Nationals; 31 Mets Strikeout in First Two Contests

Howard Goldin

Flushing, NY---Empty sears far outnumbered those filled with live bodies on Wednesday night at Citi Field for game #2 of the 2014 season. The announced attendance of 29,146 did not appear to match the occupied seats according to the eyes of this reporter seated in the press box. Perhaps, many who previously purchased tickets did not attend the game. Those who stayed away from the ballpark avoided seeing the second consecutive loss of the Mets.

Two of the more successful major league hurlers, Gio Gonzalez and Bartolo Colon, hooked up for what many suspected would be an impressive pitchers’ duel.

The Mets excited the sparse gathering of their dedicated fans when lead-off batter Juan Lagares tripled to center in the first. He scored the only Mets run of the contest on a sacrifice fly to right by David Wright with one out. The run batted in was Wright’s third of the new season.

Neither club hit successfully again until the top of the fourth when the visiting Washington Nationals knotted the score on back-to-back doubles by Jason Werth and Adam LaRoche. The run batted in byLaRoche was his third this year.

In the fifth, the veteran Colon gave up four hits, two of which accounted for runs. Shortstop Ian Desmond hit the first of Colon’s offerings into the seats in center to break the tie. Two batters later, the veteran righty gave up the second solo homer of the frame to opposing pitcher Gonzalez.

Both starters left after the sixth inning. Gonzalez, the winner, surrendered only three hits and one run while fanning six. The Washington pitchers have stopped the Mets cold in both contests. The Mets are batting an anemic .156 (10 for 64) and 31 Mets batters have fanned in the two contests.

Colon gave up nine hits and three runs. After the contest, he commented, “I felt very good. I think I pitched very well. I was throwing like I always do.”

Both the pitcher and his manager, Terry Collins, felt his pitchers were higher than usual in location. Collins remarked, “What you saw today was not his best stuff. He was up in the zone, first time I’ve seen that.” Colon said, “I agree. It was a little bit up.”

Mets relievers Gonzalez Germen and Kyle Farnsworh  yielded one run each as the Mets were defeated, 5-1.

The Nationals hope to sweep the first series of the season in a Thursday matinee with Jordan Zimmermann, a 19 game winner in 2013, on the mound. Major league sophomore Zach Wheeler will be the Mets starter trying to prevent the sweep.

Notes-Now that the bell to begin the regular season of MLB has rung, Jason Werth has put his Spring Training batting mark of .206 in the past. He has hit safely five times in ten at bats against the Mets, four times on Wednesday. Three former Yankees pitchers saw action in game two. For the Mets, Colon hurled the first six frames. Kyle Farnsworth surrendered one run in relief in the ninth. Tyler Clippard yielded no runs or hits in one inning of relief for the Nats.

Howardg53@yahoo.com