The Nats blew three leads in this game of 1-0, 4-1, and 6-4 in a 9-7 loss to the division rival NY Mets.
The pregame press conference foreshadowed that this game could have complications when we learned that Ryan Zimmerman had an undisclosed injury and would be day-to-day. With Clint Robinson taking Zimmerman’s place in the line-up, the Nats played with only Stephen Drew, Chris Heisey and Jose Lobaton on the bench.
Lucas Giolito made his second career start and got through the 1st and 2nd inning unscathed. Things for Giolito unraveled in the 3rd inning, and the signs were there as his pitch count rose sharply, and he seemed fortunate to only give up 1 run with a pitch count at 60. Giolito appeared to just be pumping fastballs at that point. The Nats offense scored 3 run in the top of the 4th inning to give Giolito a 4-1 lead.
Giolito started off the 4th in a 3-2 count against Brandon Nimmo who struck out on a high fastball to help Giolito. Travis D’Arnaud then crushed a home run, and if you couldn’t tell by then that Giolito was struggling you could tell when the opposing pitcher also worked Giolito to a 3-2 count and luckily popped up for an out. Dusty Baker did not call to the bullpen at that time, and did not get up a reliever in the 4th inning until it was too late. Surprisingly when Dusty called to the bullpen it was for Oliver Perez and not his long-man Yusmeiro Petit.
Lucas Giolito could not get his changeup or curveball consistently in the zone for strikes and relied on his fastball most of his outing and with a 4-1 lead in the 4th inning he no longer could locate the fastball as the Mets pounced for 2 home runs in the 4th inning and threatened for more. Giolito threw 30 pitches to get 2 outs in the 4th inning.
Giolito left the game in a 4-4 tie after 3 2/3 innings. Giolito threw 70 fastballs of his 90 total pitches which equated to 78% fastballs thrown. The official radar gun showed Giolito’s velocity was higher than the MASN gun. Giolito averaged a tick under 95mph and his max velo was 96.8 but we never saw the big heater from Giolito in either start as we expected some reachback 98 heaters. In the 4th inning, the Mets players were sitting fastball, and the Nationals were fortunate as it could have been worse.
Giolito threw 14 curveballs and only 28% were in for strikes as he was helped by the Mets who swung at 4 of them, but the curveball couldn’t be located and didn’t have that tumbling action that we saw in Giolito’s debut and was easily ID’d by the Mets. After the 2nd inning, they just stopped swinging at the off-speed and sat on fastballs. Giolito only threw 6 changeups in the game.
The Nats bullpen was not used in matchup baseball and when the Nats clawed back for a 6-4 lead the Mets scored 3 on a pinch-hit HR by Wilmer Flores off of the lefty Oliver Perez to take a 7-6 lead. The Mets added 2 more runs and the Nats got one back to lose 9-7.
There was a total of 8 home runs in the game, and the biggest blast of the night was the 3 run HR by Flores. There were many questionable managerial decisions from the Nats side. Lucas Giolito was left in there too long, and so was Oliver Perez. As we learned later in the game, Yusmeiro Petit was certainly available to pitch as he came in for relief later in the game.
The 9th inning had a little controversy after Jayson Werth led off the inning with a walk, the Mets closer Familia could not find the strike zone and in a 2-0 count Daniel Murphy unleashed a very hard grounder that Asdrubal Cabrera dove for and tossed to 2nd base. Jayson Werth slid by the bag and the Mets were awarded a doubleplay and the game turned in an instant. Familia all of a sudden found his command as the crowd got by behind him he struck out Bryce Harper to end the game.
Watch Dusty Baker in this video below. He gives a bizarre answer and explanation as to why he did not insert his long-man, Yusmeiro Petit, earlier in the game.