Flushing, NY—After a Friday night loss to the Mets at Citi Field, the Washington Nationals continued their mastery of the Mets on the latter’s home turf with victories on Saturday and Sunday. The Nats have won 14 of the last 15 games the two have played at Citi Field. The games were not tightly contested as the Mets were outscored 96-30.
The two starting pitchers, Jordan Zimmermann of the Nationals and Jon Niese of the Mets, engaged in a demonstration of excellent pitching for six innings. Neither allowed a run during the first six frames.
Niese outpitched his Washington counterpart as he yielded only four hits and did not issue a walk in the first six. Only three Nationals runners reached base, but no one scored before the seventh.
Zimmermann allowed nine batters to reach base, but none scored as the Mets were 0 for 9 with runners in scoring position (RISP) off him. Matt Williams credited his starter with intelligent pitching, “He pitched out of some jams. It’s a question of just making pitches when you need to. It’s just a sign of a veteran pitcher that knows what he’s doing out there.”
Washington catcher Wilson Ramos, who would later be the batting hero of the game, praised his battery mate, “He’s very aggressive; he attacks the hitters.”
The 28 year-old pitcher viewed his performance from his own perspective, “I had my hand full and I was able make a pitch when I had to. [I was] just trying to put up zeroes and keep the game close.”
The winningest pitcher in Nationals’ history did what he intended. He left the game after 6.2 innings without his opponent having scored a run. He was removed after retiring two batters in the seventh after having thrown 103 pitches. This was the seventh time in his 30 starts that he kept his opponent scoreless.
Zimmermann has been extremely effective recently. He is 4-0 in his last five starts against the Mets and the Nats have won all five of those games. He has won his last six decisions and his club has been victorious in each of his last nine starts. His season won/lost mark has improved to 12-5 and his ERA has fallen to 2.83.
Despite Niese’s fine outing the outcome was determined by one swing in the seventh inning. Washington shortstop Ian Desmond beat out an infield single to begin. He moved to second on a sacrifice by Bryce Harper. Ramos, having fanned in his two previous at bats against Niese, parked a 1-1 pitch into the seats in right to drive in the first two runs of the game.
The catcher from Venezuela described his thoughts, “I was looking for one pitch to try to hit the ball well. I tried to put a good swing on the ball in that at bat.”
Ramos missed all of the 2012 season after the middle of May and missed 59 games in 2013 due to serious injuries. Thus, he explained to reporters after the contest, “For me, this is a very important year. I just want to help the team to make the playoffs. That’s the reason I’m working hard. I want to play in the post-season and not be on the bench.” They’ve got a good team.”
The Nationals currently have the best record and will be a force to be reckoned with in the post-season.