The Washington Nationals traveled to Queens to face the first place New York Mets on Thursday night and they looked to build on a two-game winning streak they started in Atlanta. The Mets entered Thursday’s game at Citi Field with a 10-0 record at home. The Nationals sent Stephen Strasburg (2-2) to the mound to face Jacob deGromm (2-3) and they provided their starter with quality run support when they took advantage of a fourth inning fielding error by Mets shortstop Wilmer Flores. Flores booted a tailor-made double play ball which set the table for a three run inning in the Nationals 8-2 win.
The Nationals lone loss of the series came on Friday night in a much anticipated pitching matchup between two aces–Max Scherzer (1-3) and Matt Harvey (5-0). The Nationals were shutout 4-0. Scherzer allowed a solo home run to left fielder Michael Cuddyer in the bottom of the fourth inning and the Mets scored three more runs in the bottom of the ninth inning when Jayson Werth misplayed a line drive hit to left field.
This loss was followed by two impressive starts by Gio Gonzalez (2-2) and Doug Fister (2-1). Nationals fans finally got to see the talent of their starting rotation that they had so highly anticipated during the offseason. Both starters earned wins in their respective 1-0 games. Two of this week’s nominees for star of the series are pitchers who had shutdown performances. Here are the nominees for the 4/30-5/3 series win against the Mets.
- Gio Gonzalez
- Max Scherzer
- Ryan Zimmerman
Gio Gonzalez needed one inning to settle into a groove on Saturday night. Gonzalez was tested early when first baseman Lucas Duda came to bat with the speedy 2014 Gold Glove winning center fielder, Juan Lagares, on first base. Duda smacked a line drive into the left field corner for a double and Lagares tried to score from first base. Werth fielded the ball cleanly and threw a strike to Ian Desmond who relayed a one hop throw to Wilson Ramos. The ball easily beat Lagares who was nailed at the plate. Gonzalez walked Cuddyer on four pitches and then threw a wild pitch to move the two baserunners into scoring position. Gonzalez settled in after he got Daniel Murphy to harmlessly ground out to Ryan Zimmerman for the third out. He surrendered just one more walk and three more hits the rest of his seven inning outing. Gonzalez’s terrific, nine strikeout, start was featured on the front page of the Washington Post sports section Sunday morning alongside images from Saturday’s other major sporting events including the Kentucky Derby and the “Fight of the Century.”
Max Scherzer pitched in a highly anticipated matchup with Mets ace Matt Harvey. Scherzer did not give up a hit until the fourth inning when Cuddyer hit his solo home run to give the Mets a 1-0 lead. Scherzer got some assistance from Bryce Harper in the bottom of the fifth inning when Harper charged a Lagares single in shallow right field and threw a one hop laser to Wilson Ramos to nail Curtis Granderson at the plate to end the inning. Scherzer was dominant in his final two innings of work recording four of his 10 strikeouts.
Ryan Zimmerman had another strong offensive series at the plate. He hit safely in all four games and had key RBIs on Thursday night and in Sunday afternoon’s 1-0 win to clinch the series. Zimmerman had a two RBI night on Thursday and drove in his second RBI on a well placed infield single. He drove in the only run of the game Sunday afternoon on a broken bat blooper in the first inning. It is also worth noting that Zimmerman, who has not hit a home run since April 8, was robbed of his third home run of the season Sunday afternoon by Michael Cuddyer in the top of the fourth inning.
Star of the Series: Gio Gonzalez
Gio Gonzalez settled down after a turbulent first inning and had the best start of the series. His sacrifice bunt in the top of the second inning was also a key to his success because it helped manufacture the Nationals only run of the game.