The Mets were dominated by the Nationals on Wednesday night in D.C., losing by the score of 7-1. The Mets offense struggled to get anything going against Washington starter Doug Fister, while the National's offense rebounded from a tough loss at the hands of Zack Wheeler.
Jonathan Niese struggled on the mound once again, allowing 6 earned runs over 6 innings pitched. The Nationals jumped all over Niese early, scoring three runs in the opening frame, capped by an Adam LaRoche 2-run home run. The Mets southpaw held the Nats at bay until the 6th inning when he left a change-up over the middle of the plate for all or nothing slugger Danny Espinosa, resulting in a 3-run home run, and a 6-0 deficit.
Meanwhile, Doug Fister was brilliant on the mound for the Nationals, earning his 11th win of the season, tossing 7.1 innings while allowing only 1 run (unearned) and collecting a season high 7 strikeouts. Newly acquired reliever Matt Thornton, whom the Nationals picked up off waivers from the Yankee's this past week, debuted for his new ball club in relief of Fister. The flame throwing lefty pitched well, but allowed an inherited run to score on a seeing-eye RBI single by Daniel Murphy in the 8th inning.
Nothing has been going right for Jonathan Niese since returning from the disabled list on July 21st. After a stretch of 21 straight starts in which he allowed 3 earned runs or less, Niese has allowed 4 (vs. SEA) and 6 ER (vs. WAS) in two of his starts since that time. Over that span, the lefty's ERA has ballooned from 2.96 to 3.51. This stretch marks the first time in Niese's career that he has lost four consecutive starts.
"For sure he's struggled," manager Terry Collins said. "We've just got to keep getting him out there and keep getting him work, and getting him back to where we know he can be successful. That's locating his pitches."
Adam LaRoche has destroyed the Mets thus far in the series. Entering the week mired in a slump, LaRoche seems to have found his groove. The powerful lefty has reached base in 6 of his 8 plate appearances this series, including two home runs tonight.
The Mets will look to get back on track tomorrow afternoon when Jacob deGrom (6-5, 2.77 ERA) takes on Jordan Zimmermann (7-5, 3.00 ERA). First pitch is slated for 12:30 p.m. ET.