Depleted Mets No Match For Powerhouse Washington Nats

Published on: 4th July, 2017

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jay bruce
Jay Bruce hit a ninth-inning two run homer off Ozzie Perez  | read this item

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Watching Terry Collins today, after another Mets blowout defeat, 11-2, at the hands of the Washington Nationals reminded one of how controlled Collins has learned to be as the manager of the New York Mets.

There was a time when Collins, a baseball lifer and tough little Irishman, used to say what was squarely on his mind. For instance, if his general manager had not provided his team with solid arms in the bullpen or a reliable bench for pinch-hitting, pinch-fielding or injury backups, Collins could just as easily go public with his complaints about the organization. 

As his Mets begin what looks to be an inevitable fall into 2017 oblivion, Collins was more resigned than usual to the tough questions from Mets beat writers in Washington.

He could have hinted or outright blurted the need for the Mets to start selling off all of their expiring contracts and players with value to contenders but, he didn’t. 

 

Jay Bruce hit a ninth-inning two run homer off Ozzie Perez

“We’re out there doing the best we can,” Collins said. “We try to put our players in the best place to succeed. We’re just missing balls by 6 to 10 inches in the field and we aren’t making the right pitches at the right time.”

Geez, he was positively empathetic there, for his struggling team.

The Nationals’ superiority to the Mets has been evident all season, but Tuesday the proverbial final moments of the fireworks show occurred, with everything exploding on manager Collins’ crew at once.

Barring a rash of catastrophic injuries, the Nationals are primed to win the NL East in a runaway for the second straight year. The Mets (38-45) had arrived here hoping to continue a recent surge headed toward the All-Star break, but that momentum is lost, following two straight defeats to begin the three-game series.

The Mets fell to 3-9 this season against the Nationals and trail their NL East nemesis by 11 ½ games.

With Yoenis Cespedes (hamstring cramp) and Curtis Granderson (sore hip) on the bench, the Mets had little firepower to make a charge. But mostly, this All-Star Nationals lineup was too difficult for Lugo (3-2) and the bullpen to handle. Jay Bruce’s two-run homer in garbage time against Oliver Perez accounted for half the Mets’ scoring.

Lugo was knocked out after allowing four runs in the fifth that buried the Mets in a 6-2 hole. Overall, the right-hander surrendered six earned runs on 10 hits and two walks, in his worst start of the season.

Five straight hits by the Nationals in the fifth sank Lugo. Ryan Raburn’s two-run double resonated the loudest, but Daniel Murphy’s second RBI single of the game was also noticeable against his former team. Since signing with the Nationals before last season, Murphy has reached base in 30 of 31 games against the Mets.

Murphy finished 4-for-5 with five RBIs after giving the Mets a reprieve a night earlier when he was absent from the starting lineup.

Rene Rivera’s homer leading off the fourth had tied it 2-2, but that was the Mets’ last stand. After Lugo imploded in the fifth, Erik Goeddel and Josh Edgin combined to allow three runs in the sixth.

Lugo fell into a 2-1 hole in the third on successive RBI singles by Bryce Harper and Murphy. The Nationals didn’t hit the ball particularly hard in the inning: Michael A. Taylor bunted for a single and Harper delivered a bloop to center for the Nationals’ first run.

Jose Reyes homered leading off the game, continuing the Mets’ trend of strong first innings. Reyes entered batting .304 over his previous 17 games.

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