October 22, 2020

Washington Nationals Game 134 Review: Nats bats quiet in loss to Gee, Mets

The Washington Nationals pushed Dillon Gee out of the game during a rally attempt in the eighth, but they fell short of knocking in the go-ahead runner in Friday’s 3-2 loss to the New York Mets.

Gee and Nationals starter Jordan Zimmermann found themselves in the midst of a pitcher’s duel at the onset. In fact, neither starter allowed a hit – that is, until the bottom of the third inning.

On a 1-1 count to lead off, Wilson Ramos powered a homer to left-center to give Washington a one-run lead.

It was short-lived, however, as Daniel Murphy led off the top of the fourth with a single, allowing Ike Davis to one-up Ramos with a two-run, go-ahead shot.

From that point onward, neither team made noise. In the bottom of the fourth, Bryce Harper, Jayson Werth and Ian Desmond each went down in order on infield grounders.

In the fifth, Travis d’Arnaud led off with a double, but Zimmermann (L, 15-8) regained his composure in time to retire the next three batters.

Unfortunately for the Nats’ ace, Washington failed to conjure up another hit until Ryan Zimmerman lined a two-out single to left in the bottom of the sixth. However, Harper, who went 0-for-4 on the night, grounded out on the third pitch in the next at-bat to strand Zimmerman.

In the top of the eighth, the Mets broke through the silence after Murphy hit a two-out double and came home on a single by Andrew Brown.

At that point, the Nats called upon Fernando Abad to relieve Zimmermann, who recorded a final line of 7.2 IP, 3 R, 6 H, 1 BB, 6 K and 1 HR on 71 of 93 pitches for strikes.

In the bottom of the eighth, the Nats came back to life off a pinch-hit homer from an unlikely suspect.

With two outs, the Nats called upon Steve Lombardozzi in place of Abad in the order. On the second pitch of his at-bat, Lombardozzi hit a monster shot to pull Washington within one run.

From there, Denard Span grounded to shortstop Omar Quintanilla and scrambled to first, just beating the throw to keep the inning alive. Zimmerman followed through with a single to give the Nationals runners on first and second. Bigger still, it caused the Mets to call upon Scott Rice to replace Gee.

Unfortunately for Harper, Friday was a day of missed opportunities.

After getting ahead 3-0, Harper fouled one off before chopping an easy grounder to Murphy. Assuming Murphy had the play easily, Harper jogged to first, not realizing Murphy had bobbled the ball – perhaps enough that Harper could have beaten it out.

Either way, Washington entered the ninth down a run. Ryan Mattheus pitched a scoreless inning of relief but the Nats quickly went down in order in the bottom half of the inning against the Mets’ LaTroy Hawkins.

THE GOOD: Wilson Ramos went 1-for-2 with a homer and a walk. Steve Lombardozzi’s solo shot in the bottom of the eighth came as a bit of a surprise as it marked his first-ever pinch-hit homer.

Jordan Zimmermann also provided the Nats with a solid outing, despite the end result. He fell short of “lights-out” but he maintained control for the most part, allowing the quiet Nats’ offense to remain in the game against Dillon Gee, who has been stellar.

THE BAD: Batters three-through-six – Bryce Harper, Jayson Werth, Ian Desmond and Adam LaRoche – combined for a whopping 0-for-16 on the night. Despite the fact that the Mets went 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position, the Nats’ bats heeded few opportunities to capitalize on their counterpart’s poor hitting.

THE UGLY: When Ryan Mattheus stepped onto the field in relief of Fernando Abad, Nationals fans were not treated to the usual sounds of Katy Perry’s “Firework,” rather, they heard Metallica’s cover of Bob Seger’s “Turn the Page.” While no one can blame a late-innings reliever for wanting to channel his inner Mariano Rivera, it’s a bit of a change of genres for the 29-year-old.

NOTES: Davey Johnson went missing from the dugout for a portion of the game, reportedly due to light-headedness.

THE STATS: 2 R, 6 H, 0 E, 1 BB, 4 K, 0-for-3 with RISP, 4 LOB

NEXT GAME: Saturday, 7:05 p.m. at Nationals Park – Zack Wheeler (6-3, 3.42) vs. Dan Haren (8-11, 4.66)

About Alyssa Wolice

Alyssa Wolice is a Staff Writer for District Sports Page covering the Nationals and Wizards. As a former production assistant, she covered the Nationals, Redskins, Capitals, Wizards, D.C. United and local collegiate teams. You can follow Alyssa on Twitter @awolice.

%d bloggers like this: