The Mets’ 6-3 win earlier this afternoon at the Nationals was a huge win for a number of reasons. The main obvious reason is the return of Matt Harvey from Tommy John surgery. In his first appearance since 2013, Harvey threw six innings scattering four hits and walking one, striking out nine Nationals in the process. Harvey looked like his old dominant self throwing 91 pitches with 63 of them strikes. However, this win was important for a different reason — the Mets beat the Nationals.
In 2014, the Mets went 4-15 against their division rivals from Washington. If the Mets want to compete in 2015 and make a playoff push they need to be significantly better against the best team in their division. This series win could signal a change in their fortunes. The Nationals are believed to be far an away the best team in the NL East and many people believe they are the best team in the National League. However, right now they are significantly banged up missing key pieces in Jayson Werth, Anthony Rendon, and Denard Span. The Mets were able to take advantage of this holding the Nats to six runs in the three game series due to strong starts from Harvey, Jacob deGrom, and Bartolo Colon.
Facing an extremely difficult trio of arms in Max Scherzer, Jordan Zimmermann, and Stephen Strasburg, the offense showed some signs of growth and was able to take advantage of defensive miscues made by the Nationals. Travis d’Arnaud was an offensive catalyst at the bottom of the order, with five hits in eleven plate appearances. The Mets’ backstop also drove in four runs.
The bullpen also delivered a solid performance as all relievers except Alex Torres, who struggled giving up two runs in a third of a inning today, performed well. Unfortunately, the bullpen may have lost a key piece as Jenrry Mejia felt tightness in his elbow. Although an MRI showed no structural damage, Mejia was placed on the 15-day DL. The team has announced that Jeurys Familia will serve as the team’s closer until Mejia returns.
All in all the Opening Series was a positive for the New York Mets as they were able to take advantage of a weakened Nationals team and win two games that will be huge in the long run. If the Mets can play .500 or better against their division foes over the course of the season I think they will find themselves right in the heart of the playoff hunt come September. These three games were the first step in reaching that goal.