Thursday, May 23, 2019

"Living in the moment" Mets Complete Sweep Of Nats

Carlos Gomez celebrating on his way back to the dugout.

The Mets completed their sweep of the Washington Nationals on Thursday afternoon with a 6-4 win capped by Carlos Gomez's three-run home run in the eighth inning.

This was the Mets' third straight come-from-behind victory, and they are now nearly back at .500, at 24-25. 

This has been a dramatic turnaround for the Mets, who started the week facing questions about the future of their Manager, Mickey Callaway, and what kind of team they are after a dreadful sweep last weekend in Miami.

Callaway said on Thursday afternoon of what a difference a few days can make, "We're not looking forward, just living in the moment and trying to take advantage of what they can, so they're definitely taking the right approach.

"We always focus on today, we don't worry about forward. Go get some rest tonight, come out tomorrow, prepare, work hard during our pregame, take some BP and focus on the game, You know, if you start looking too far ahead or worry about what's happened in the past, you can't stay in the moment and get the job done in the moment, so these guys all understand that and I think that that's why we've been able to come back and win games, or score a ton of runs from the seventh inning on, because we're not looking back."

Mets starter Steven Matz was a magician in this one, as he allowed Washington to get runners on base in nearly every inning, but kept them off the scoreboard until the sixth.

In the first, Washington got one-out singles from Adam Eaton and Anthony Rendon, but Howie Kendrick to hit into a double play when he bounced it back to Matz.

In the second, Juan Soto led off with a triple, but he stayed right there, as Brian Dozier struck out, Victor Robles walked and then was erased in a double play by Yan Gomes.

Matz got through the third relatively unscathed, as he worked around a double to Trea Turner by getting Eaton to bounce out to his nemesis Todd Frazier at third, and then by striking out Rendon.

Washington had a golden opportunity in the fourth when, with one out, Soto singled and Dozier doubled, but Robles struck out, and then they walked Gomes intentionally to get to Stephen Strasburg, who also struck out to end it.

In the fifth, with one out, Eaton lined one to center that landed in front of Juan Lagares and it bounced past him, allowing him to get to second. He stayed right there, as Rendon grounded to short and then Kendrick lined one out to left that J.D. Davis caught with a leaping grab.

Through it all, the Mets did not put much pressure on Washington strarter Stephen Strasburg, but they got on the board first.

The Mets took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the fifth when Carlos Gomez singled, stole second base, and reached third on a throwing error by Yan Gomes. He came home on a Juan Lagares sacrifice fly.

In the top of the sixth, Soto led off with a double which put him one away from the cycle, since he had a triple in the second and a single in the fourth.

Brian Dozier then dribbled one up the first base line, and he beat Matz to the bag at first, but Adeiny Hechavarria threw it away, and that allowed Soto to come home and finally get Washington on the board and tying it at 1.

However, Dozier kept running as the Mets regrouped, and Matz threw a bullet to get him out at third base.

Robles then singled, Washington's 10th hit of the day, and he stole second, but was left there as Gomes and Strasburg struck out to end the eventful inning.

That was all for Matz, whose final line was kind of a throwback to when pitchers were allowed to work out jams: 6 innings pitched, 10 hits, 1 run (earned), 2 walks, 7 strikeouts.

Callaway said the reason for Matz being able to get out of so many games was, "Making pitches. Chuck Hernandez, our bullpen coach, was one of my first coaches in pro ball and I remember him saying this to me my first year, 'I want to see a pitcher that can go out there, throw seven innings, give up 12 hits and give up two or three runs because that's really pitching. You know, he days you've got really good stuff, you're going to pitch well. The days that you don't, and there's traffic everywhere and you get double plays and you have to concentrate on executing pitches, this is a huge leap for Matzie, you know, as far as his ability to shrug things off, focus on that in-between pitch routine. I could see it in his face tonight, I didn't really notice one time where he got rattled or wanted to spike a baseball or anything. He stayed under control and understood 'I just need to execute pitches,' because he had some really tough situations to get out of against right-handed hitters that have a very huge advantage against lefties and he executed pitch after pitch, and stayed calm and got out of all those jams, so it was an unbelievable outing by him."

In the bottom of the sixth, with one out, J.D. Davis singled and Todd Frazier was hit by a pitch, and both advanced to second and third base on a rare passed ball form Strasburg.

Pete Alonso was up next, and he just missed a three-one home run as he hit it to the track in center field, but it was still good enough for a sacrifice fly to score Davis and make it 2-1 Mets.

Wilson Ramos was up next, and he hit a dribbler into the hole at shortstop, which Rendon took a while to get to, and his throw was late first, allowing Ramos to reach and Frazier to come in and score to give the Mets a 3-1 edge.

Jeurys Familia came on for the Mets in the seventh and he retired the Nationals's top three hitters - Turner, Eaton, and Rendon - in order.

Next out of the 'pen for the Mets was Robert Gsellman, and he opened the inning by striking out Howie Kendrick, who gave a check-swing at a pitch low and away, but the home plate umpire said he went around.

Kendrick pleaded for an appeal to the first base umpire, but that was not granted, and he was ejected. Nationals Manager Dave Martinez was out of the dugout, and he got ejected as well.

That must have sparked the Nationals, as Soto walked, and then, with two outs, Robles singled.

Gomes followed with an RBI double to score Soto, and Gerardo Parra (who was pinch-hitting for Strasburg) singled home Gomes and Gerardo to make it 4-3 Nats. Turner struck out to end the inning.
In the bottom of the eighth, pinch-hitter Dominic Smith laced a double to left field, and then with two outs, Wilson Ramos was walked to get to Carlos Gomez, who launched a bomb to left-center field for a three-run homer to make it 6-4 Mets.

Gomez, who joined the team last weekend, was a big part of this sweep, as he was involved in all three late comebacks in this series.

Callaway said of what the outfielder has brought to this team, "He really has (upped the energy in the clubhouse). I think everybody in there respects him for the way he comes in every day whether he's going to play or not, I mean, you saw everybody when you were interviewing him out on the field (referring to SNY's Steve Gelbs) in the dugout standing there, staying there to watch him get interviewed.

"He's very well-respected, he brings energy every day, even (Ryan) O'Rourke, when he got here today, said, 'hey, we were missing Go-Go down there.' That's what he brings, and that's one of the reasons why we wanted to get him up here. It's leadership, it's the ability - he's got great athletic talent, and he can pop one like he did tonight. He's going to play good defense, he can steal, he's fearless when he's out there on the basepaths. He brings a lot to a team."

Mets closer Edwin Diaz came on in the ninth and retired the Nats in order to record his 12th save of the season.

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