In order to beat Johan Santana, you have to pretty much play flawless baseball. The Nationals are doing anything but that so far tonight.
The Mets lead 3-0 in part because Jordan Zimmermann has missed with a few pitches. Gary Sheffield’s 2-run double in the first got things going, and Daniel Murphy’s RBI single to right added a run in the third.
But Zimmermann (who has struck out six) hasn’t been helped by his defense. With a man on first and no outs in the third, Jose Castillo dropped a bunt down the third base line. Ryan Zimmerman came charging in and could have thrown Castillo out at first … except no one was covering the base. Ronnie Belliard was covering second. Cristian Guzman was covering third. That’s a bad mistake, a really bad mistake.
Zimmermann nearly got out of the inning unscathed, but Zimmerman couldn’t handle Gary Sheffield’s hot smash to third (which could have started a 5-3 double play) and had to settle for a force out at second. Murphy then came up and his single to right to make it 3-0.
The way Santana’s going, that looks like enough to win the game. The ace lefty is absolutely overwhelming Washington’s hitters. He’s notched seven strikeouts through three innings, allowing only an infield single by Nick Johnson.
Could be a long night.