When Major League Baseball announced on the eve of Opening Day that it would be expanding its postseason format from five to eight teams per league, the Mets did not outwardly rejoice. Their goal, after all, was a National League East title.
Still, the Mets seemed obvious beneficiaries of the rule change, considering the challenges of their division. The Braves were the defending NL East champions. The Nationals were the defending World Series champs. The Phillies were in contention, and even the Marlins seemed much improved. If the Mets were to fall short of first place, MLB’s new postseason format offered a safety net.
The idea that they would miss out on the playoffs altogether seemed improbable, if not unthinkable within the walls of their clubhouse. And yet when the Nationals swept the Mets in a doubleheader Saturday in Washington, that’s exactly where they stood. They dropped Game 1, 4-3, to be mathematically eliminated, then lost Game 2, 5-3 (both in seven innings). Should the Mets lose again on Sunday, they will finish the season not in the playoffs, but tied for last place.
GAME 1 RECAP:
Jacob deGrom wasn’t at his best, and the Mets’ bullpen gave up a late run to break a 3-3 tie, officially eliminating them from playoff contention with a 4-3 loss to the Nationals on Saturday.
Making his final start of the year, deGrom geared his fastball up to as high as 102 mph, but did not have his best outing. He allowed two home runs to Andrew Stevenson (one of which was inside-the-park) and another run on a wild pitch. He finished the game firing 113 pitches over five innings, striking out 10 and allowing three runs on five hits.
Miguel Castro came on for deGrom in the sixth, and very quickly the Nationals had runners at the corners with nobody out. Castro got a strikeout and then gave way to Edwin Diaz , whose first pitch was ripped to right field by Josh Harrison. The Mets got the force out at second, but the go-ahead run came around to score on the play.
GAME 2 RECAP:
The Mets fell to the Nationals 5-3 in Game 2 of Saturday’s doubleheader, as the Nats scored all five runs in the third inning.
Rick Porcello had a rough outing, allowing five runs on eights hits and 67 pitches over 3.0 innings.
In the bottom of the third inning, Porcello started to unravel. Trea Turner homered to right center field to make it a 1-0 game. Yadiel Hernandez then doubled to score Juan Soto, before scoring himself on a Kurt Suzuki RBI single. Josh Harrison drove in Suzuki, and then scored after Michael A. Taylor singled, extending the Nats’ lead to 5-0.