Kyle Schwarber entered this game as the hottest long ball threat in the game and it took him one pitch to take control of the Mets once again beginning another 2 homer game vs the Amazins and also gave him overall his 11th home run in his last nine games tying the nine game major league record for home runs since 1901 with Frank Howard being the last player to accomplish that feat back in 1968.
And his homer got his team energized as Trea Turner blasted a 435 foot homer on the very next pitch and Jerad Eickhoff gave up a Gerardo Parra homer in the next inning to give the Nats a 3-0 lead. To the Mets credit, they fought back in this game with a 2 run homer from Pete Alonso coupled with a solo blast from Billy McKinney cutting the lead to 5-4. But The Nats got a three run homer from Ryan Zimmerman that put this game away after a fielding miscue from the Met infield.
That error occurred when the infield was in a shift as a sure double play ball was botched when Travis Blackenhorn cut in front of Francisco Lindor and committed 2 errors on the play preceding the Zimmerman blast. It was the second time in the last week a middle Met infield miscue preceded a three run homer and it is something that Luis Rojas must address. In that case, was the shift worth ruining a double play chance? It is something the Mets must evaluate going forward.
The Mets have dropped 4 of 5 to the Nats and it has allowed them to crawl within 3 games of the Mets in the NL East standings as the schedule gets real challenging for both teams in the next two weeks. The Mets play 3 in Alanta followed by 3 in the Bronx vs the Yankees before coming home to face the Brewers and Pirates. Meanwhile, the Nats will play the Rays, Dodgers, Padres and Giants leading up to the All Star Break.
It will interesting to see once we hit the All Star break where this division sits but the Nationals have clearly made up some ground which the Mets will try to get back before the break. They split their series with both the Braves and Phils at Citi and of course play 3 in Atlanta where they will pitch Jacob deGrom in the final game of that set. And for the Mets 2 out of 3 in Atlanta seems like a necessity for them. Offensively, they are still struggling but I was encouraged by the Jeff McNeil at bats in this one. Both McNeil and Michael Conforto need to heat up at the plate.
Their next challenge will be Charlie Morton in Atlanta who handled the Mets very well with an outstanding curve ball in New York. And given the Mets inability to hit the breaking pitches recently it could be quite a challenge to win this one. But on the flip side if they do win with deGrom going in the series finale it could be a huge step towards winning a series in Atlanta just as they did earlier in the season at Truist Park.