And just like that the pressure is on the Mets. They don't HAVE to win tonight, but if they don't they'll find themselves 2.5 games out with a 3 game set in DC on the near horizon. If they couldn't beat the Nats 2 out of 3 in NY, how could they expect to beat them 2 out of 3 in Washington just a few days later? Of course they pretty easily could
Last night was a good night, though it was obvious that Colon was off. The man who hasn't walked more than 30 men in a season the past four years gave 5 guys free passes last night. As much as I'd like to credit the Nats amazing patience that's probably not the truth. And so just like I can't go too much into evaluating an offense that fails to score against one of the best pitchers on a day that he's dealing, I can't do much evaluation for an offense that scores against a meh pitcher having an off day. I will say you NEED to score on such days and the Nats did so they didn't blow their shot.
Now it's Strasburg's turn versus Matt Harvey. I'm not sure we'll hear many "Harvey's better" chants today. He's been a mess this year. His ERA (4.93) is bad and his WHIP (1.533) shows it isn't much of an accident of timing. He's peaked at "decent" this year with more bad games than ok ones. He's walking more and striking out fewer but the real issue is he's become incredibly hittable. Supposedly it's just a mechanics thing but we'll see for ourselves tonight .
Strasburg's historically been pretty good versus the Mets and in a crucial game last year went toe to toe with the Mets' best pitcher of 2015 Jacob DeGrom before getting forced out and watching Storen serve up a gopher ball to Cespedes. He's pitching better in 2016 than he has in the past couple years and that's saying something because at worst you'd say he pitched good in those years (and that's selling his performance short IMO). He still hasn't broken out - no Kershaw like dominance - tonight would be a good night to have that start.
Even if the Nats lost tonight it's fine. They are playing in Queens. They needed one win and they got it.
Hey Harper how are the prospects doing?
Trea Turner - finally got hot again after a nearly month log slog (.250 / .302 / .344 from April 17th through May 11th) dulled the excitement of his fast start. He's got a little 8 game hitting streak right now, though the prudent move is to keep an eye on him. The strikeouts aren't bad but he's stopped walking even while heating back up. Right now I don't think I'd move him up today but he's close. He might actually time a reasonable call-up with what service time would dictate.
Lucas Giolito - the good news - only 3 hits in 5 innings last time out! the bad news - 5 walks and only 4 Ks. He did have a couple errors behind him. The short of it is that they are starting to stretch him out now and we have to see how he reacts to that while trying to pick up his game.
Victor Robles - He's slowed down a bit but he still hasn't gone hitless in 3 straight games yet. Unless the Nats are trying to teach him patience (he does not wallk - 1 walk in the past month) there's no reason he shouldn't be moved up soon.
Catch All of names you heard of at some point - Lopez is doing ok in AA, better recently. Cole is scuffling along in AAA. Fedde is struggling big time in High-A. Difo is trying to pull himself back up after a painfully slow start.
Other guys in upper majors - Severino holding his own at AAA which is great since he's 22. Not major league ready yet but gives you hope he will be in a year or two. Goodwin is doing ok in same place, though fading recently. In AAA you have some of the usual maybe useful relief arms but nothing exciting. Voth has probably claimed the "first up" if there is a rotation hole. He's been good, not great. In AA there isn't much to excite. De los Santos was interesting and got bumped up and has done poorly in AAA.