By John Schweibacher
» More Columns
After beginning the season 7-3, the New York Mets have lost eight of their last nine games, including a three-game sweep by the Washington Nationals at Citi Field this past weekend.
Washington completed the sweep with a 6-3 win Sunday night. Daniel Murphy’s first-inning grand slam put the Nationals ahead for good, and Max Scherzer, the reigning National League Cy Young Award winner, struck out nine batters to earn the victory.
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Scherzer’s 55 strikeouts over his last five games against the Mets, dating back to his no-hitter on Oct. 3, 2015, tied the record for a five-game span. Two other pitchers struck out 55 Mets batters over five games, both for the Cincinnati Reds: Jim Maloney in 1963 and ’64, and Mario Soto from 1981-83.
Murphy’s grand slam was his second with the Nationals. Murphy hit 62 home runs with the Mets, but did not hit a grand slam in his seven seasons in New York. Ed Kranepool, who hit 118 career homers for the Mets, is the only player in club history to hit more home runs than Murphy without hitting any with the bases full.
Most HRs with Mets without a grand slam:
• Ed Kranepool, 118
• Daniel Murphy, 62
• Mookie Wilson, 60
• Wayne Garrett, 55
• Butch Huskey, 55
On Saturday afternoon, the Nationals beat the Mets, 3-1. Gio Gonzalez allowed only two hits in 6 1/3 innings to get the win for Washington.
Gonzalez is now 9-1 with a 1.62 ERA in 13 career starts at Citi Field. Here are the opposing pitchers with the most career victories against the Mets at Citi Field:
• Gio Gonzalez (Oak/Was), 9
• Stephen Strasburg (Was), 6
• Tim Hudson (Atl/SF), 6
• Jordan Zimmermann (Was), 5
• Cole Hamels (Phi), 5
Jacob deGrom took the loss Saturday, striking out 10 and walking six in 5 2/3 innings. It was the ninth time in club history a Mets starter had at least that many strikeouts and bases on balls in one game. Nolan Ryan had five such games while Tom Seaver, Dwight Gooden and Johan Santana each had one apiece.
On Friday night, the Mets lost the opener of the weekend series against the Nationals, 4-3 in 11 innings. The injury-riddled Mets used Zack Wheeler as a pinch hitter, and the pitcher came through with a double.
Here is the list of Mets pitchers who had pinch hits:
• 4/21/17: Zack Wheeler vs. Was (double in 7th)
• 5/16/11: Jon Niese vs. Fla (triple in 11th)
• 9/12/97: Brian Bohanon vs. Mtl (single in 14th)
• 10/3/93: Dwight Gooden at Fla (triple in 9th)
• 8/10/92: Dwight Gooden vs. Pit (single in 16th)
• 8/11/90: David Cone at Mtl (single in 11th)
The Mets also used Robert Gsellman as a pinch runner in Friday’s loss. It was the second time he pinch-ran in the majors. Here is the list of the most pinch-running appearance all-time by Mets pitchers:
• Al Jackson, 51
• Dick Selma, 18
• Tom Seaver, 17
• Ron Darling, 15
• Bob L. Miller, 7
• Jae Seo, 5
On Thursday night at Citi Field, the Mets lost the rubber game of the three-game series against the Phillies, 6-4. Noah Syndergaard took the loss, but struck out 10 Phillies batters without a walk, for his sixth 10-K/no-BB game.
Here is the list of Mets pitchers with at least three, double-digit strikeout games in which they did not walk a batter:
• Tom Seaver, 10
• Noah Syndergaard, 6
• Dwight Gooden, 6
• Matt Harvey, 5
• Jon Matlack, 3
• Sid Fernandez, 3
• David Cone, 3
• R.A. Dickey, 3
Happy Recap: Be Like Mike. Michael Conforto went 3-for-4 and hit his second leadoff homer of the series Sunday night vs. the Nats and is now batting .361 with four homers and eight RBIs overall.
Nine Miles of Rough Road: Slammed. Murphy’s grand slam was already the third allowed by the Mets this season. Mets pitchers gave up just two home runs with the bases full in both 2015 and 2016.