Wednesday, April 11, 2012
Rapid Reaction: Nationals 4, Mets 0
By Mike Mazzeo
WHAT IT MEANS: The Mets’ lineup just isn’t the same without David Wright. In two games without their No. 3 hitter, the Mets (4-2) have scored a combined two runs in two losses.
It didn’t help that Stephen Strasburg was on the mound on Wednesday afternoon. Featuring an electric fastball that topped out at 97 mph, the Nationals' 23-year-old phenom out-dueled Johan Santana, tossing six shutout innings of two-hit ball while striking out nine as Washington blanked New York, 4-0, at Citi Field. It’s the first time the Mets have been shut out this season.
Manager Terry Collins is hopeful that Wright (broken right pinkie finger) can play on Friday in Philadelphia. Given that they have to face both Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels in the three-game series, the Mets could certainly use his .583 batting average anchoring the middle of their order.
Wednesday marked the 50th birthday of the Mets’ franchise. They lost 11-4 to the Cardinals in their first-ever game on April 11, 1962. Some fans paid $2.50 -- the price of a reserved seat back then -- for their tickets.
THROW-HAN: Santana started off slow, but finished strong. In his second start of the season, the left-hander threw 53 pitches in his first two innings -- uncorking a wild pitch that allowed Mark DeRosa to score from third in the second inning (the first run he’s allowed this season) -- but just 46 over his next three innings plus one batter. At one point, Santana retired nine in a row. His fastball consistently sat in the 88-89 mph range.
Santana was projected to throw around 95 pitches. He was at 94 through five and was allowed to start the sixth, but was lifted after issuing a leadoff walk to Jayson Werth.
Santana’s final line: 5+ IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 3 BB, 8 SO; 99 pitches, 56 strikes
His ERA is currently 0.90.
RUN T.(M.)C.: Collins was ejected by home plate umpire Larry Vanover in the seventh inning -- likely for arguing balls and strikes. Mets pitchers walked a combined 10 Nationals batters on Wednesday afternoon -- including seven by the bullpen.
HERE’S A FIRST: Ike Davis snapped an 0-for-18 skid to start the season by lining a one-out single to right field in the sixth. He received a standing ovation from the Citi Field crowd. Davis did make two nice catches on foul balls in the fifth.
The last Mets position player to be in that type of funk to begin a season? Todd Pratt, who began the 2001 season 0 for his first 19, according to Elias.
WHAT A WASTE: Jason Bay went 0-for-3 and struck out twice before being lifted as part of a double-switch in the seventh. His average stands at .158.
UP NEXT: The Mets will get a day off on Thursday before R.A. Dickey (1-0, 3.00 ERA) takes on Lee (0-0, 1.50) and the Phillies on Friday.