NEW YORK - The Nationals have had difficulty against Mets starter Jacob deGrom in the past. The right-hander is 8-4 with a 2.44 ERA in 17 starts against the Nats. Recently, he has gone 5-1 with a 1.50 ERA in his last eight starts against Washington.
Nationals manager Davey Martinez believes their best chance against a pitcher the caliber of deGrom is to be just as aggressive as the hurler hopes to be.
“We got to be aggressive,” Martinez said. “He’s going to attack the strike zone. So we got to be aggressive early and try to get him early. He likes to get ahead so we got to be ready right from the first pitch.”
The bigger picture for the Nats is trying to avoid a second consecutive sweep at the hands of the surging Mets. New York almost derailed the Nats’ season with four straight wins here May 20-23.
“We just got to go out there and play good baseball,” Martinez said. “We’ve been playing good. Obviously, they’re playing really well, things are going good. They’re on a hit streak right now. Just come out and continue to play good baseball and hopefully we end up on top today. deGrom is good so we got to battle, scratch and claw, try to get as many runs as possible.”
Update: The Nats got the quick start they had hoped for with three unearned runs in the first inning. Trea Turner and Anthony Rendon singled and Juan Soto walked to load the bases. With two outs, Asdrúbal Cabrera’s grounder was fielded to the right of first baseman Pete Alonso. But deGrom could not handle the throw to first base and two runs scored. Soto scored when the relay was dropped by catcher Wilson Ramos.
Mid-first, the Nats lead the Mets 3-0.
Update II: In the second, J.D. Davis and Ramos singled off of Aníbal Sánchez. Joe Panik dropped in a run-scoring single to get the Mets on the board. deGrom laid down a perfect bunt single towards third base.
With the bases loaded, Jeff McNeil drove a double down the first base line to score two runs.
After two innings the game is tied 3-3.
Update III: Sánchez finished five innings, allowing three runs on seven hits with one walk and three strikeouts. He threw 89 pitches, 56 for strikes.
After six innings, the game remains tied at 3-3.
Update IV: With the bases loaded and two outs in the seventh, Cabrera delivered an oppo two-run double down the right field line off Mets reliever Justin Wilson. Third base coach Bob Henley appeared to be late in holding Soto as he rounded third base.
Mid-seventh, the Nats lead the Mets 5-3.
Update V: The Mets connected on a sacrifice fly RBI by Michael Conforto to score McNeil in the bottom of the seventh. Hunter Strickland hit Alonso with a pitch to put two men on. But the reliever struck out Davis looking and Daniel Hudson got Ramos to line out to left field to end the rally.
After seven innings, the Nats lead the Mets 5-4.