Flushing, NY: Are the Washington Nationals falling apart in August or a fact that the NY Mets are relevant and turning this into a magical season? Saturday night the Mets continued to be the hottest team in baseball since the All-Star break and the Nationals have caught them at the wrong time.
Fact is, the Mets can’t do nothing wrong as they won a season-high eighth game and their sixth in a row from the Nationals at Citi Field which dates back to a four-game series sweep in May. The Mets 4-3 win, their second in two nights, makes it 15 wins out of their last 16.
They are surging and remain a half game back in the NL wild card standings. If they sweep the finale Sunday the Mets could bypass the Nationals or tie them for the top wild card spot.
“We’re playing good unfortunately they came back here,” Nationals manager Dave Martinez said.
His young star, Juan Soto had his fourth career multi-home run game. The second home run off a Seth Lugo fastball in the eighth inning gave the Nationals a 3-2 lead. And that home run also broke Lugo’s scoreless streak at 15.2 innings which tied a record for a Mets relief pitcher
“ You can see one of the youngest stars is shining,”Martinez said. He’s very poised taking pitches, he’s hitting.”
But as has been the case the past three weeks, these Mets don’t quit. And at Citi Field they have won their 10th straight as they continue to be the baseball story.
And every night it seems to be some else stepping up to the plate. The Nationals, also a team that struggled with their bullpen, went to Fernando Rodney to close it out in the ninth inning.
“He is our guy,” Martinez said. But the veteran right-hander fell behind on the count to pinch hitter Luis Guillorme who became the latest and unlikely hero for the Mets. Guillorme,, who never hit a Major League home run deposited a cutter that went to the right field strands that tied the game.
Guillorme is the latest reason the Mets are feeling good. Rodney and the Nationals have another shot Sunday afternoon at stopping this Mets magical run since the All-Star break, 21-6, and a major league best.
“ He fell behind,” Martinez said about Rodney and the 3-2 pitch. “We gotta come out keep playing baseball and come on top. You’re looking at a Mets team that is surging right now. They’re putting the ball in play. We got a lot of baseball left. We’re fighting to get in the playoffs. They’re fighting to get in the playoffs.”
Martinez said that Rodney has done well. “ He had a bad outing today. He’s our guy.” Meaning, of course, the manager has not lost confidence in his closer.
And for the Mets, it’s that contribution up and down the lineup. And there is the unexpected as a sellout crowd of 43,875 also expected to see this run continue.
“It’s a great feeling, especially the way the situation was,” Guillorme said. “ It helped the team too. That situation all you want to do is get on base. I was trying to help the team. Trying to be consistent with my swing, getting good pitches to swing.”
“I don’t hit many of those,” he said. Indeed, he is not a home run hitter. Guillorme hit 12 home runs in the minor leagues. This first one will be memorable because the Mets kept this marvelous winning streak going.
“Doesn’t matter if we are down one or five,” Guillorme said. “The crowd means a lot Brings a lot of energy.”
Lugo said, the home run gave him energy to finish the job. He has become a stopper out of the pen, though Edwin Diaz remains the closer and expected to be used in a closer situation Sunday afternoon.
“The way they were hitting the ball in the 8th that gave me a little energy,” Lugo said. “The way they scrapped the game, got the lead that made me bear down.” Lugo recorded is fifth win after Noah Syndergaard did not have his best stuff though threw a sixth consecutive start of 7.0 innings.
The birthday boy, Wilson Ramos, hit a game tying home run to left, back-to-back in the fourth inning with J.D. Davis. It was the second straight game of back-to-back home runs for the Mets. Davis drove in the game winning run with a sacrifice fly in that eighth inning.
“We’re playing really good baseball right now,” Ramos said. “ We go and play with energy a lot of good things happen. I been working really hard in the cage doing my drill getting a good pitch to hit.. React with the inside pitches. That helps me with my timing.”
And right now, in August, the timing has been right for the Mets. They continue to believe and why not with the miracles.
On the other side do not count out the Nationals.
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