The Nationals took the field against the Mets on Wednesday night looking to stay in sole possession of first place. The Mets couldn’t take the lead, but the Marlins could have. After they lost to the Braves 2-1, the Braves leapfrogged both the Mets and Marlins to second place in the NL East. First place isn’t the point of this story, though. It’s about the underrated pitching of Edwin Jackson and a Nats offense that may be getting offense back just in time.
Jackson was again stellar on Wednesday, going seven innings when the Nats needed him most following an epic 12-inning game on Tuesday. He gave up just three hits, walked four, struck out six. He gave up two earned runs, but the third was on his own throwing error. Other than that one mishap, he was the dominating pitcher the Nats wanted to sign this offseason.
The offense did its part giving Jackson five runs of support in the first seven innings. The three through five hitters, Ryan Zimmerman, Adam LaRoche, and Michael Morse, reached base in eight out of first thirteen plate appearances, and in the fifth inning those three put up back-to-back-to-back singles. The last time the Nationals 3-4-5 hitters hit in consecutive at-bats was on April 9 against the Mets. It’s been a long time coming.
Another 5-3 Curly W over the Mets is in the books as the Nats increase their lead in the NL East to two games and go for yet another sweep on Thursday. In his post-game presser, Davey Johnson said of his lineup, “the first two guys are gonna get on, then the thunder’s comin’.” That’s what Nats fans have been hoping for, and that’s what they’re going to get from an offense that is much improved with Morse involved. There’s no doubt that with some “thunder,” they’re going to be here to stay.
- Morse and LaRoche both went 2-for-3, and LaRoche’s huge three-run home run in the first inning really got the game going. It’s fun to see what this offense can do when their core is clicking.
- The Mets showed some traits of a team that doesn’t belong very high in the NL East standings so far this series. Most people believe the Mets are far outperforming their talent, and two ugly errors by Daniel Murphy on Wednesday reiterate that. In the two games in this series so far, the Mets have not played fundamental baseball.
- Bryce Harper continues to give opponents fits on the basepaths. Murphy made one of his two errors with Harper running to first; he later scored. Harper then singled in the seventh and stole his third base of the season. He’s a 19 year old hitting .285 on the season. That alone should be impressive enough.