Washington Nationals Sweep Three Game Series over Mets

Howard Goldin

Flushing, NY---An 8-2 victory on Thursday afternoon completed the Washington Nationals three game sweep of the Mets. The Mets had not lost their first three games of a season since 2005. The win for the Nationals was their eighth straight over the Mets.

Two promising sophomore hurlers, 23 year-old Zach Wheeler and 27 year-old Tanner Roark, hooked up in the finale of the three- game set. Jordan Zimmermann, a 19 game winner in 2013, was scheduled to start for Washington, but was scratched on the morning of the game after developing flu-like symptoms.

Roark was told by pitching coach Steve McCatty on Thursday morning he would get the start. The relaxed and good humored pitcher told reporters after the contest, “I’ve been watching in the dugout the last two days. I just go with the flow. It’s basically up to them [management]. I just throw the ball.”

He explained that his parents were driving from Illinois to Washington, D.C. for the home opener on Friday because he was scheduled to start. He said he would tour the nation’s capital with them and his in-laws and they would still have a good time.

Roark, who gained a spot in his club’s starting rotation after an impressive Spring Training, pitched six innings, but only yielded runs in the first. With one out, Daniel Murphy, seeing action for the first time this season after his son was born on Monday, singled. David Wright followed with a single to center. The first run of the game was driven in by Curtis Granderson’s first hit of the season, a double. The final run of the inning was scored on a sacrifice fly to center by Juan Lagares.

Roark scattered only three additional hits in the next five frames. He ended his outing by fanning the final four Mets batters he faced. Matt Williams, the National’s manager said of the starter, “He battled through it [a difficult first inning].”

Wheeler surrendered seven hits and three runs in his six inning stint. The first run came on a lead-off homer in the second inning by third sacker Ryan Zimmerman. The hit was the first of four for Zimmerman in the game. A lead-off walk to Stanley Leon in the fifth was followed by singles by Denard Span and Jason Werth. The damage that inning was two runs.

The game became one-sided once the pen men of the Mets entered in the seventh. Scott Rice and JuerysFamilia each gave up two runs in the seventh. The runs were accounted for by four hits, a base on balls and Murphy’s second error of the game at second base.

The eighth Washington runner to cross plate scored on a bases loaded walk to Adam LaRoche by Mets reliever Carlos Torres in the eighth.

The Mets bullpen ERA was raised to 11.57 in 2014 after relievers gave up four runs in three innings. The relief corps had now yielded 12 runs, 11 earned in 9.1 innings.

Offensively, the Mets have also shown weakness. After three games, the team batting average is .179 and 39 Mets batters have fanned.

The Cincinnati Reds come in for a weekend series on Friday night and Saturday and Sunday afternoons. Jerry Mejia (Mets) and Mike Leake (Reds) are scheduled to be the starting pitchers on Friday. 

NOTE: After the game it was reported that Manager Terry Collins had decided to insert Lucas Duda in the lineup as the regular starter at first base…

Howardg53@yahoo.com