It didn’t have the hype of Mayweather vs. Pacquiao, but it was just as exciting, if not more, as Niese and Gonzalez were locked in a pitchers duel through seven innings last night. The advantage went to the Washington Nationals in a 1-0 battle as the only run came off of a fine defensive effort from Murphy at third, on a diving stop that couldn’t be gloved, allowing the only run of the game to be scored.
Niese battled for 7 innings, allowing just the one run. He got off to a shaky start laboring through the first three innings before settling down and getting his pitch count under control. He continues to struggle throwing his good curveball consistently and his fastball is barely touching the upper 80’s. Yet somehow, he continues to find a way to battle and keep the Mets in games. That being said, I would much prefer the Mets to insert Steven Matz as their lefty in the rotation and let Niese find a home elsewhere, along with Dillon Gee.
The Mets defense has looked much improved (albeit a small sample) over the last two games since moving Murphy to third base. Daniel Murphy came up as a third baseman and was moved off of the hot corner due to David Wright calling third home and has never looked as comfortable at any other position. He handles all plays well and seems a ton more confident at his natural position. Dilson Herrera despite being barely over the legal drinking age is a huge upgrade defensively at second base and once his bat adjusts to major league pitching, which it will as he has done nothing but hit in the minors, he will surely be a key contributor in signaling the end of the #imwith28 era in Queens.
The Mets need to take the finale of the Nationals series tomorrow afternoon. They have to establish some type of consistency at home, despite playing a great all around game, and show the Nationals they will not be walked on this year. This is especially important now while the Nationals are still not at 100% (not that the Mets are either). Dillon Gee needs to build off of his last performance and shut down the Nats and the bats need to awaken against Doug Fister, who is yet another above average starter that the Nationals are able to throw out on a nightly basis.