Of all the Mets with expiring contracts, Jerry Blevins is probably the most likely to stay — simply because it might take a microscope to determine his trade value.
The struggling left-handed reliever’s brutal season took a turn further south Thursday night when he entered a one-run game against the Nationals in the seventh inning and promptly transformed it into a three-run game.
Bryce Harper easily cleared the right-field fence against Blevins for a two-run homer, and the Mets never recovered in a 5-4 loss at Citi Field.
Max Scherzer (12-5), who is expected to start the All-Star game for the National League on Tuesday in his home ballpark — despite his inferior numbers to Jacob deGrom’s — wasn’t particularly sharp, allowing home runs to Jose Bautista and Kevin Plawecki, but he received enough support for the victory.
The Nationals’ ace allowed three earned runs on five hits over seven innings and increased his ERA to 2.41. DeGrom pitched eight scoreless innings a night earlier to lower his major league-leading ERA to 1.68.
Steven MatzAnthony J. CausiSteven Matz kept the Mets in the game by allowing three earned runs over 6 ¹/₃ innings before Tim Peterson entered and surrendered a single to Anthony Rendon. Manager Mickey Callaway then summoned Blevins — against whom lefties were hitting 14-for-44 (.318) — and watched Harper unload for his 23rd homer of the season.
Callaway made a controversial move Monday against the Phillies by summoning Blevins before pinch-hitter Odubel Herrera — a lefty batter — had been announced. Blevins instead faced a right-handed hitter, Jesmuel Valentin, and recorded the out. Callaway later said the move was intentional because he wanted to catch the Phillies off balance and also liked Blevins against the right-hander — righties are 5-for-34 (.147) against him this season.
After Harper’s blast, Plawecki and Asdrubal Cabrera homered to get the Mets within 5-4, but the Nationals (47-46) received the necessary outs from their bullpen.
Matz (4-7) had escaped a bases-loaded jam in the sixth by retiring Trea Turner for the third out. Scherzer had reached on an infield single — on which Bautista double-clutched at third base — following walks to Daniel Murphy and Matt Wieters.
Bautista’s homer leading off the fourth pulled the Mets within 3-2. The blast was Bautista’s fifth in 46 games since joining the Mets.
Rendon’s second homer of the game gave the Nationals a 3-1 lead in the third. Rendon also hit a two-run homer in the first, after Juan Soto had singled against Matz.
Bautista’s RBI single in the first pulled the Mets within 2-1. Cabrera doubled and Bautista followed with a shot to center, on which he was thrown out attempting to reach second. Bautista was originally ruled safe, but the call was overturned on a replay challenge by the Nationals.
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