In the second half of the 2015 season, Daniel Murphy could do no wrong in the eyes of the Citi Field faithful. Now that he’s wearing a Nationals’ uniform in 2016, Murphy has become the chief tormentor of the Mets and their loyal fans. Murphy had three hits and four RBI on Saturday night to pace Washington to a 6-1 victory over the Mets that expanded the Nats’ lead in the National League to five games.
Nationals’ Record- 53-36
Nationals 6 Mets 1
WP- Scherzer (10-6) LP- Verrett (3-6)
HR- Murphy, Was (16)
STARS OF THE GAME
Third Star- Jayson Werth was 0-3 on the game and made a rare error in the bottom of the first inning, but he gets the third star of the game designation because of his batting eye. Werth worked two walks in the game and ended up scoring two runs, both on hits by Daniel Murphy. Werth’s OBP for the year is now at a season high .343 as he continues to reach base in front of the Nats’ strong middle of the order hitters.
Second Star- After working through a rough first inning in which he held the Mets to one run when it looked as though the home team would put up a crooked number, Max Scherzer was masterful. The Nats’ righty allowed only three hits and struck out nine in seven innings pitched to move to 10-6 on the year. Scherzer now leads the National League in strikeouts with 162.
Star of the Game- Daniel Murphy laid the wood to his former team again, going 3-4 with a double, a home run and a season high four RBI to pace Washington’s attack. On the year, Murphy is hitting .438 with three doubles, six homers and 19 RBI against the Mets. Since 1990, only Ryne Sandberg (22 in 1990) and Ryan Howard (21 in 2006) have more RBI in a season against the Mets. Sadly for Mets fans, Murphy has seven more games to add to his total. The all-time leader for RBI in a year against the Mets is Hank Aaron, who drove in 28 runs against New York in 1962.
Valiant in Defeat- Alejandro De Aza has had a rough start to the 2016 season and has endured the rath of the Mets’ faithful because of it, but he had a solid game on Saturday night. Playing in place of the injured Yoenis Cespedes, De Aza went 2 for 3 and reached base on a walk.
Scherzer’s win made him a double digit game winner for the seventh season in a row. He did not allow a home run, making the start his fifth out of 19 on the season where he has not given up a round-tripper.
Murphy now has 12 four plus RBI games on his career, with the last prior to Saturday night coming on September 13, 2015 when he drove in four in the Mets’ 10-7 win at Atlanta. Murphy’s career high for RBI in a game is five, a mark he’s reached three times. His 19 RBI on the year against New York is the second most runs batted in against an opponent in a season in Nationals’ history, trailing only Ryan Zimmerman’s 22 against Philadelphia in the 2006 season.
Ben Revere tripled in Scherzer in the third inning with Washington’s go-ahead run. The three bagger was the fifth on the season for Revere, making him the 17th player in Nationals’ history with five or more triples. The Nats’ best mark for triples in a season is 11, set by Denard Span in 2013.
With two stolen bases last night, Bryce Harper posted the fifth game of his career with two stolen bases. He now has 12 on the year, only six away from his career high of 18 set in 2012.
The season’s pre-All Star game schedule ends today with a match-up of lefthanders Gio Gonzalez and Steven Matz.
Gonzalez has fared extremely well at Citi Field in his career, going 7-1 with a sparkling 1.53 ERA. Curtis Granderson (.143 in 35 at bats) and Wilmer Flores (2-15 with four strikeouts) have struggled against Gonzalez, while Jose Reyes has four hits in 10 career at bats against him.
Matz has allowed three or fewer earned runs in 12 of his 15 starts in 2016, with his best game coming back on May 25th when he threw eight innings of four hit, shutout ball against Washington in a Mets’ win.
A victory in today’s game will give the 2016 Nationals a .600 winning percentage at the All-Star break, which would be the best in Nationals’ history. In 2005 the Nats entered the break with a .591 percentage, a mark that was almost equaled by the 2012 team that put up a .590 pre-break winning percentage.