NATIONALS 2 - METS 0 GM 2
NATIONALS 3, - METS 1 GM 1
For Max Scherzer, Saturday night was a chance at redemption. Redemption for himself after losing two games to the Mets this season, and redemption for the Nationals whose season imploded in the months of August and September as the Mets pulled away with a division that everyone thought would be Washington's.
Scherzer was unbelievable. He no hit the Mets, earning his second no hitter of the season, and were it not for an error at third base, he would have tossed a perfect game against the playoff bound Mets. What was most impressive about his performances, wasn't the no hitter, it was the way he did it. Scherzer struck out 17 batters, with nine of them coming in the final ten outs of the game. At one point he struck out nine in a row from Curtis Grandson in the sixth inning to Lucas Duda in the ninth inning.
With each out Scherzer got stronger, and with each out, the Mets went up their just swinging away, trying and hoping to catch up to Scherzer's 95 mph fastball. It wasn't going to happen. Scherzer was determined to stick it to the Mets, and he did it with one of the greatest pitching performances in MLB history.
Scherzer with his effort became only the fifth pitcher in the history of the game to throw two no-hitters in the same season. Were it not for a base hit by the Reds last weekend, Scherzer could have had three no-hitters this year. Talk about living up to the $200 million contract.
From the Mets standpoint, the loss was an embarrassment. New York needed to sweep their double-header against the Nationals on Saturday to reclaim an edge over the Dodgers for home field in the first round of the National League playoffs. Scherzer's no hitter assured that the Mets will have to travel to Los Angeles for Games 1 and 2 of the NLDS. Rest assured that Scherzer and the Nationals took even greater pleasure in that.
It is amazing that in a season where the Mets didn't blow their chances at the playoffs, ending a nine-year drought of not playing serious October baseball, they still found a way to blow a chance at facing Clayton Kershaw and Zach Grienke in their own building for Games 1, 2, and maybe even 5.
The Mets have now lost five in a row and are playing awful baseball as they get set for the playoffs next Friday. They got swept by Philadelphia this past week, and have dropped the first two to Washington. In four of the games, the Mets trailed throughout, and never challenged Philadelphia and Washington. In New York's 7-5 loss to the Phillies on Wednesday, they had a 5-0 lead only to watch the Phillies storm back to win, in a sloppy affair on a cold night in Philly.
The offense has been the biggest issues. Michael Conforto is hitting .185; Yoneis Cespedes is hitting .100; David Wright, .222, and Wilmur Flores, .167. This is not going to get it done.
While playing great baseball is not a requirement for the final week of the regular season, it is a disturbing trend. The Mets are setting themselves up for a great fall in the NLDS if they don't pick things up quick. If the Mets want to be a World Series team, they should understand that last years' participants, the Giants and Royals were getting hot in the final week of the season -- not cold.
In other words, its looking more and more likely that the Mets, who have never lost a division series in their history, are in line to get TKO'd in the first round by the Dodgers. They were going to be underdogs regardless, but now they look ready made for to be golfing come mid-October.
And speaking of embarrassing, the fact that Terry Collins sent out a lineup without Cespedes, Lucas Duda and David Wright in the lineup for the second game of a double-header with Matt Harvey on the mound against Scherzer, and with home field on the line is a sick joke. It sent the message that New York didn't care about home field, when they should have.
Sure it is great to see the Mets in the playoffs, but don't get too comfortable seeing them under the brightest of lights.