Early-September series don’t get much more important than Mets-Nats, not with each game being a two-game swing in the standings and a wild card all but out of reach for the loser. The Mets came to Washington four games up, so for the Nationals, this is basically a playoff series. Bryce Harper wishes the fans would treat it that way.
Monday’s series opener was an ugly one, on both sides, but it was ultimately the Nats pissing away a chance to pull within three games thanks to Max Scherzer’s ineffectiveness, some curious moves (and non-moves) from Matt Williams, and a complete bullpen implosion. When the Mets stuck three runs on the board in a prolonged and painful seventh, some fans decided they had seen enough and started heading for the exits.
“I mean, they left in the seventh, so that’s pretty brutal,” Harper said. “I don’t know. Whatever.”
The slow-motion car wreck that was the seventh inning wasn’t pretty—at one point, the Nats used four pitchers to face four batters—and it’s hard to begrudge anyone trying to make use of the last few daylight hours on the last unofficial day of summer. But three runs with three innings to go isn’t a blowout, and looked particularly embarrassing on a day when it sounded like a good chunk of the crowd was Mets fans to begin with.
The Nats have decent attendance—10th best in MLB—but the qualm appears to be with the quality of the fans, not the quantity. On Saturday Jonathan Papelbon criticized the rabidity of the crowd.
“I got a little bone to pick with some of the fans here tonight. I saw a few of them sitting down. I’m not going to lie. We need to stand on up in those situations. So let’s get that going, you know what I mean? Because this is playoff baseball.”
The Mets extended their lead to five games with yesterday’s win. If the Nationals can’t take one of the next two, they can probably stop worrying about playoffs.