|Carlos Carrasco pitching to Cesar Hernandez in the second inning on Sunday. Photo by Jason Schott.
The Mets had another somber Sunday at Citi Field, as they suffered one of their toughest losses of the season, 7-1, to the Washington Nationals.
The Mets finish this ten-game homestand with a record of 6-4 after the Nationals took two of three in this Labor Day weekend set. They opened it by taking three of four from the Colorado Rockies last weekend, which was the followed by the exhilaration of taking two out of three from the Los Angeles Dodgers during the week.
The Mets are now 85-50, and their lead in the National League East is down to 1 games, as the Atlanta Braves improved to 84-51 after they beat the Miami Marlins, 7-1.
Mets pitcher Carlos Carrasco was making his first start since August 15 in Atlanta against the Braves, when he suffered a low-grade oblique strain.
The right-hander, who entered this start with a record of 13-5 and a 3.92 ERA (earned run average), was greeted in the top of the first inning by a double from Lane Thomas, who scored when Luis Garcia followed with a single, giving Washington an instant 1-0 lead.
Carrasco then got Joey Meneses to pop out to shortstop and got Luke Voit to hit into a double to play to end the inning.
Washington starter Erick Fedde retired the Mets in order in the bottom of the first, but faced pressure in the second.
Pete Alonso opened it with a walk, and he raced to third base when Daniel Vogelbach followed with a single. Jeff McNeil then hit a sacrifice fly to score Alonso and tie it at 1.
They couldn’t add to it, as Mark Canha flew out to left field, and even though Eduardo Escobar singled, Tina’s Nido hit into a force out to end the frame.
In the top of the third, Carrasco allowed a one-out single to Thomas, and then Garcia hit what looked like a double play ball, but McNeil made an error, so Washington had two runners on base and none out.
Meneses singled to load the bases, and after Voit struck out, Keibert Ruiz got a two-out single to make it 3-1. Cesar Hernandez walked to re-load the bases, and then Ildemaro Vargas got another two-out hit to make it 5-1.
That was all for Carrasco, as he only went 2 2/3 innings, allowing those five runs, only one of which was earned (all four in the third were unearned because of the McNeil error), on six hits and two walks, with two strikeouts.
Trevor Williams came on, and finished off the third inning by getting C.J. Abrams to bounce into a force out.
After retiring the Nationals in order in the fourth, he allowed a two-run home run to Hernandez, his first of the year, and that opened up a 7-1 lead.
Fedde went on to pitch six innings, allowing just one run (earned) on four hits and a walk, with two strikeouts, and he earned the win to improve to 6-9 on the season.
SCHERZER UPDATE: Max Scherzer left his start Saturday night after throwing just five innings and 67 pitches with what Mets Manager Buck Showalter termed “left side fatigue.”
On Sunday morning, Showalter gave this update, in which he feels Scherzer should make his next start Friday night in Miami: “We gave him an extra day this time and he's scheduled for an extra day next time because we have an off day (Thursday) to play with, which was kind of why we wanted him to take an extra day this time, and because it benefited the other starters.
"There's something to be said about getting on a rhythm every fifth day, too, but right now, if you look at each pitcher, which we've done individually, obviously it's about Mac, but it's about the other pitchers, and that's why it was so important for Pete (David Peterson) to make that start the day before yesterday, cause it kind of set everybody up to have better rest, try to keep people healthy as we're going forward.
"(Scherzer) Feels pretty good today, so basically he's going to start with a extra day or we push him back. I don't foresee this as any type of DL injury, he's going to pitch after the day off."