Given all the hype and hoopla that surrounded tonight's Mets-Nationals game featuring the major league debut of top prospect Lucas Giolito, the first word that comes to mind to sum up the night for the right-hander is bummer. Not because of his performance, far from it. No, it was a bummer because of the 55-minute delay before the game started and then the 1-hour, 25-minute rain delay that cut Giolito's debut short in the fourth inning.
Sadly, the rookie didn't get a decision in a 5-0 Nationals victory.
The short period of time Giolito did pitch, however, proved to be quite impressive. Giolito's first pitch, right at 8 p.m., was a 95 mph fastball to the Mets' Curtis Granderson for a ball. Granderson ended up with a base hit, but Giolito came right back for his first big league strikeout of former National Asdrubal Cabrera.
Giolito displayed his power fastball and wicked curveball, and his 85 mph changeup was so deceptive, the scoreboard at Nats Park kept labeling it a fastball. He finished pitching four innings, giving up just the Granderson single and two walks with the one strikeout. He threw 45 pitches, 29 for strikes, and was looking out disappointedly in the on-deck circle as the rain delay was officially called. In his first at-bat with runners on the corners and two outs in the second inning, Giolito actually made solid contact that got past first baseman James Loney. But the grounder was scooped by second baseman Neil Walker, who flipped it over to Mets starter Matt Harvey for the last out.
Offensively, the Nats had given Giolito a lead before his first at-bat. Wilson Ramos led off with a single to center field, and two batters later Anthony Rendon drove him in with an RBI triple, his second of the season. Then, after the delay, Jayson Werth drew his second walk and Bryce Harper sent a Jerry Blevins offering into the Nats bullpen for a 3-0 lead in the fifth.
With two outs in the seventh, Harper hit a double down the right field line, After Daniel Murphy was intentionally walked, Ramos hit two-run double to deep center field, putting the Nats up 5-0.
Yusmeiro Petit relieved Giolito at the start of the fifth inning and got out with just a base hit to his record. But he got himself into a bases loaded-jam in sixth and was replaced by Oliver Perez, who promptly got out of the jam by striking out Loney and getting Wilmer Flores to fly out to center. Sammy Solis pitched two shutout innings of relief and Shawn Kelley closed out the eighth. But Perez was credited as the winning pitcher by the official scorer, thanks to Mother Nature not granting Giolito the fifth inning.
With the Marlins losing 7-5 to the Tigers, the Nationals now have a four-game lead in the National League East, while the Mets fall to five games back.