Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Jekyll and Hyde Rotation

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Jekyll and Hyde Rotation

Article excerpt

NEW YORK -- The fastball was sent into orbit -- or as close as any batted baseball could come.

There was no drama. Bryce Harper's bat met ball. Ball soared. A long way.

And reliever Josh Edgin dropped his head in disgust.

But the void on the mound was felt at Citi Field long before the Washington Nationals' phenom sent his second home run -- and his team's fourth -- clanging off the face of Shea Bridge in right- center field in the eighth inning. And it was felt long before former Yankee closer Rafael Soriano coaxed the final out that turned Harper's 440-foot monster shot into the Nationals' 7-6 victory over the Mets on Saturday afternoon.

One day after a masterful Matt Harvey clearly outdueled Stephen Strasburg, the Mets displayed how large the holes are in the rest of their starting rotation and bullpen.

After all, if Harvey (4-0) or Jon Niese (2-1 with a no-decision) aren't pitching, the Mets aren't winning.

They are 7-1 behind their top two starters and 1-7 otherwise. "We're just not making the pitches we've got to make," manager Terry Collins said. "And that's cost us some damage. We've just got to pitch better."

Starter Jeremy Hefner (7.07 ERA) yielded home runs to Ian Desmond and Harper -- giving him a National League-high seven allowed in just 14 innings. He left giving up three runs in four innings.

Hefner has yielded six homers in his past eight innings.

And the bullpen allowed four more runs -- including two homers -- after the Mets used a five-run fourth off 21-game winner Gio Gonzalez to take a 5-3 lead.

"You get five off Gio, we've got to win that game," David Wright said. "It's not too often when you get Strasburg and Gio back-to- back, and you're able to have a big inning like that and we couldn't capitalize on it. ...

"We've got to find a way to put up zeros."

That's a big problem, given that Harvey and Niese cannot pitch every game. …

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