WASHINGTON — Of the 9,036 games the Mets have played in their 57-season existence, Tuesday’s against the Nationals has a fact-based, non-hyperbolic case as the absolute worst.
The Mets lost, 25-4.
The 21-run margin of defeat was the largest in franchise history. The Nationals’ run and hit (26) totals were both one shy of the most allowed by the Mets in a single game. Jose Reyes (one inning, six runs) outpitched Steven Matz (two-thirds of an inning, seven runs). When Reyes hit Ryan Zimmerman with his 45th pitch, a 54-mph offering that registered as a curveball, Zimmerman faked a rush toward the mound before breaking into a smile.
“They came out tonight and they beat us pretty bad,” manager Mickey Callaway said. “We made way too many mistakes and they weren’t missing those tonight. Even to throw Jose Reyes out there and the guys hit him like they did, you don’t even see that in BP. Those guys were locked in.”
The timing of such a loss was unfortunate from a perception perspective. Tuesday afternoon, after the Mets made no moves before the trade deadline, assistant general manager John Ricco said the organization wants to build around its pitching staff to try to contend for the playoffs in 2019.
Matz’s mess set the tone. Dealing with what he called a dead arm, he gave up eight hits before Callaway pulled him in favor of Jacob Rhame, who managed to get through two innings but gave up six runs (seven hits).
Then came Tim Peterson (four outs, three runs) and Tyler Bashlor (two outs, three runs) before Jerry Blevins did the impossible, holding the Nationals scoreless for a whopping 1 1/3. Drew Smith did the same for a frame before Reyes, borrowing a glove from Jacob deGrom, made his pitching debut. Reyes was the first position player the Mets used to pitch this season.
On the mound for the first time since he was a preteen, Reyes, 35, faced 11 batters, threw 48 pitches and allowed home runs to Matt Adams and Mark Reynolds.
“When you’re on the mound, before you throw a pitch, it’s fun,” Reyes said. “But when you start to see people hit a home run and stuff, you get serious. Even though I’m not a pitcher, I don’t want to see that. I want to throw a zero. I did the best I can.”
As the inning dragged, pitching coach Dave Eiland made a mound visit.
“He say, how my arm? I say, it’s fine. It’s not the problem,” Reyes said. “The problem is they hit a few homer. But my arm is fine.”
In the Nationals’ seven-run first inning, pitcher Tanner Roark had a three-run double and Trea Turner had two hits. Every Nationals starter had at least one hit and at least two runs scored. Daniel Murphy, the Met-turned-Met-killer, had two homers and six RBIs — after four innings.
Jeff McNeil blasted a solo home run, the first of his career and the first from a Mets rookie this season, to end Washington’s shutout bid in the seventh. It was the first run driven in by a Mets position player since Friday (28 innings).
First baseman Wilmer Flores left the game in the first inning because of dehydration and dizziness, the Mets said. He doubled in the top of the first and missed two ground balls in the bottom half before taking himself out of the game, but said afterward that he felt better.
Thanks in part to Reyes, the Mets escaped with their bullpen in OK shape heading into Wednesday’s game, a noon start.
“We’re in a good place going into tomorrow. I guess that’s all I can say,” Callaway said. “It’s a tough loss. It’s embarrassing. We have to do better than that.”
Steven Matz joined these Mets starters who allowed seven earned runs and got two outs or fewer:
Jeremy Hefner 2012
Tom Glavine 2007
Bob Ojeda 1989
Mike Scott 1979
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