After the Mets thoroughly bashed the Nationals on Monday and Tuesday, combining for 23 runs and 33 hits, a kid making his major league debut was able to briefly slow them down.
Nationals’ rookie Evan Lee was able to contain the Mets to only two runs, but it wasn’t enough for Washington to avoid getting swept, as the Mets piled on Washington’s bullpen and took the game 5-0.
The Mets (35-17) have now won six in a row as they embark for what is, by far, the biggest test of their enchanted season. Four games against the Dodgers, three games against the Padres and three interleague clashes with the Angels await them after a cross-country flight. That flight will be full of smiles after Carlos Carrasco’s five shutout innings and Tomas Nido’s moment in the sun that ruined Lee’s first day in the majors.
Carrasco had an uncharacteristically wild day on the mound. He walked five hitters for the first time as a Met and at one point missed the strike zone on 11 straight pitches. But a pitcher doesn’t last 13 MLB seasons like Carrasco without knowing how to get out of trouble. In the third inning, after walking the bases loaded with two outs, Carrasco slotted a perfect changeup on the outside corner to catch Yadiel Hernandez looking.
The Mets’ pitcher had his father in attendance to watch the start. It was Luis Carrasco ‘s first time watching his son his pitch in-person since 2019, and the first time he ‘d seen him at all in a year. Any parent would be proud of how their child handled adversity the way Carrasco did on Wednesday. The right-hander earned his 95th big-league win without the luxury of a single 1-2-3 inning. Washington squaandered their most promising scoring chance in the top of the fourth.
Notorious speedster Dee Strange-Gordon stood in with one out and runners on the corners. After a safety squeeze attempt, Strange-Gordon gave it a full swing. The ball went straight into the ground, typically a ticket for Strange-Gordon’s quick-moving legs to reach base. The Mets worked quicker, though, turning the grounder into a perfect double play.
That defensive mastery seemed to put a pep in the Mets’ step. Nido’s first single came in the bottom half of the inning, and when Strange-Gordon booted the ball in center field, it allowed a second run to coast in. Nido came into the game hitting an even .300 in 23 plate appearances with runners in scoring position. His game-swinging knock — along with a two-RBI double in the eighth to open things up even further, and lock up his first ever four-hit game — gives Nido two more hits in that important situation. A game like Nido’s speaks to how charmed the Mets have been in the first third of the season. Not many teams have a backup catcher in the nine hole that’s so reliable in big spots, and, on the flip side of that equation, no other team in the world has Francisco Lindor.
It seems that, at long last, Mets fans have accepted Lindor into their heart. He was unequivocally disappointing last season, when he hit a career-worst .230 and finished the year with an unrecognizable .734 OPS. In 2022, he’s been as advertised. Lindor’s sacrifice fly in the seventh gave the Mets an insurance run and also extended his personal streak to ten straight games with a run batted in. Now that his bat has finally arrived in Flushing, pairing beautifully with his gold-plated glove, Lindor is near the top of the Wins Above Replacement leaderboard in the National League. Right there with him: Jeff McNeil and Brandon Nimmo.
With the position players showing out and the pitchers turning in quality start after quality start, it’s not hard to see how the Mets are 17 games above .500 at the start of June. Edwin Diaz threw plumes of unhittable smoke past the Nats in the top of the ninth, and the Mets officially swept a homestand for the first time this season. The win over the Nationals was also the Mets’ first back-to-back shutout of 2022, a year that just keeps on giving.