The Nats beat the Mets last night. The Mets beat the Mets last night. Hard to win a game 2 teams against one.
This is why I said I still would have the Nats for the NL East even if the Mets swept 'em. The Nats are just a fundamentally better team. What is most apparent is how Bryce in the line-up changes everything. Beyond that the line-ups aren't all that dissimilar (right now). A couple decent bats, a couple ok ones, lots of issues. But Bryce... you have to think about him constantly. How do I pitch to the guys in front of him? Do I intentionally walk him? Do I unintentionally walk him? Do I challenge him? If he gets on base then suddenly your options to the next batter are limited. He's a speed bump for any pitcher trying to cruise through the Nats line-up.
The Mets have nothing close to that. What they do have is pitchers, but as we well know pitchers can be a persnickety bunch. Matt Harvey is not happy because he's not on a strict 5-day rotation and he pitched poorly to start last night. If the Mets don't have the starter going well then, you might as well change the channel. They had Eric Campbell playing first for god's sake. Matt Harvey drove in the only runs last night and no one was surprised. They are 4 for their last 72 with RISP. No I didn't type that incorrectly. 4 for 72. The defense can be iffy and it was. It was just a team failure.
And that's the 2nd best team in the NL East.
Still here the Nats are - a mere 3 games ahead of them closing in on 100 games into the season. You can look at the Mets and be surprised they are where they are (and fairly - they actually have been on the lucky side this year). You can look at the Nats and say "Jesus, guys. You are on an 89-90 win pace. Get it together". You should probably do both.
The Nats don't need to put away the Mets here. This Mets team isn't catching the Nats barring major injury or surprise trade. But I want them to do it. I want it for the obvious reason of putting your closest competitor in the rear-view ASAP. I also want it because I want to see the Nats of 2015 that I expected to see and that Nats team wouldn't be fumbling trying to distance themselves from a team who might not make the 2nd Wild Card, injuries or not.
deGrom tonight. He's the Mets All-Star. Beat him with a minor leaguer. Crush him. End this middling start to the year and begin the 2nd half run we all want to see.