The New York Mets ended an eventful Monday with a much-needed win. However, if they want to finally keep the drama to a minimum, they'll need to carry the momentum of that victory into Tuesday night, when they host the Washington Nationals in the second game of a four-game series.
The victory ended a five-game losing streak for the Mets, who won hours after rookie general manager Brodie Van Wagenen held a press conference in which he gave second-year manager Mickey Callaway a vote of confidence.
Of course, history is littered with votes of confidence that didn't amount to much, so the best way for the Mets to keep Callaway employed is to salvage the final week of a 15-game stretch in which they thought they'd make up some ground against sub-.500 opponents.
The Mets are just 4-5 during a stretch of 12 straight games against the Nationals and Miami Marlins. After Washington leaves town following a Thursday afternoon matinee, New York hosts the Detroit Tigers in a three-game series beginning Friday.
The Mets recorded just three hits total in being blanked in consecutive games by the Marlins on Saturday and Sunday. They exceeded that amount in their first trip through the order Monday against Nationals left-hander Patrick Corbin, who was coming off a 5-1 win over New York last Wednesday in which he struck out 11 over eight innings.
"The at-bats were obviously more quality," Callaway said Monday night. "We grinded every at-bat out today. That's how you do it: Get their quality starters out early, whether you score runs off them or not. You grind out at-bats and get their pitch counts up."
The loss was the second straight for the Nationals, whose only winning streak in the last month came when they won the last two games of last week's series against the Mets in Washington.
Manager Dave Martinez, as he has all season, took solace in the Nationals' resiliency. Washington, which has lost 13 games by two runs or fewer and two more in extra innings, trailed 4-0 but had the tying run at first base in each of the final two innings Monday
"We battled back like we always do and it's a shame that we couldn't pull it off," Martinez said afterward. "But we'll try again tomorrow. The guys are playing -- I say this all the time -- they're playing hard. I'm starting to see some consistency. Our at-bats are better."
The loss Monday snapped a season-high five-game streak of games in which the Nationals scored at least five runs apiece.
Wheeler and Fedde will be opposing each other in what amounts to a rematch of last Thursday's game, when Wheeler took the loss after allowing six runs over six innings in the Nationals' 7-6 win.
Fedde didn't factor into the decision after he gave up four runs over 2 2/3 innings of relief in place of Anibal Sanchez, who exited with one out in the second due to a strained left hamstring.
Now Fedde likely will get at least two starts in place of Sanchez, who was placed on the injured list Friday. Fedde is 0-0 with a 7.71 ERA in four career games (two starts) against the Mets.
Wheeler is 4-10 with a 5.27 ERA in 16 career starts against the Nationals, whom he has faced more than any other opponent.
--Field Level Media