When Steven Matz takes the mound against the Nationals today, it’s nice to know that it has to be better than the last time he faced them. That night, Matz failed to make it out of the first inning and Washington would finish with 25 runs. That was on July 31, hours after the Mets stood pat at the trade deadline with the idea that they could compete in 2019.
While the 25-4 loss was the most lopsided in team history, it was a different loss to Washington which damaged the season.
Back on April 16, the Mets were 12-2 and sending Jacob deGrom to the mound. New York led 6-1 in the eighth and still had to feel good when deGrom walked off the mound even with two runners on and one out. Then the Nationals rallied against Seth Lugo, Jerry Blevins, AJ Ramos and Jeurys Familia to take a 7-6 lead. They added a run against Hansel Robles in the ninth and held on for an 8-6 win, as Asdrubal Cabrera killed a rally when he was caught trying to advance to third on a ball in the third despite the tying run being at the plate.
After it was over Mickey Callaway has some words that would come back to haunt him. “We’ll learn from it and make sure that it doesn’t throw us into some kind of tailspin.”
The comment seemed questionable considering the Mets were still 12-3 but the team comes into Sunday with a 58-71 record, and have been as far as 19 games below .500 earlier.
The team has been better of late, having won 12 of its last 18 games. On Sunday, Callaway was asked what he’s learning about his team.
“Through all the ups and downs everybody always came to play,” Callaway said. “We were at some very, very low points and guys still came to the ballpark everyday to try to play the best they could regardless of the outcome. That’s probably the one thing that has stood out the most about the players in that clubhouse is they never got too down on themselves, they never got too high on themselves and they came to play every single day.”
Today the Mets look to finish a sweep of the Nationals. Washington is the most disappointing team in the league and, like the Mets, the only drama remaining is if they have the 2018 Cy Young winner. Both teams are led by first-year managers who have come under fire this season.
A sweep of Washington could be the nail in the coffin for a Nationals team that has already dealt Daniel Murphy and Matt Adams away. That would be some measure of revenge for the Mets who lost their two most painful games to the Nats.