Washington Nationals Recap: Yusmeiro Petit Struggles in 4-4 Tie with Mets

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Mar 27, 2016; Port St. Lucie, FL, USA; Washington Nationals staring pitcher Yusmeiro Petit (52) delivers a pitch during a spring training game against the New York Mets at Tradition Field. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 27, 2016; Port St. Lucie, FL, USA; Washington Nationals staring pitcher Yusmeiro Petit (52) delivers a pitch during a spring training game against the New York Mets at Tradition Field. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports /
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Yusmeiro Petit surrendered four runs on eight hits in 4 1/3 innings pitched, as the Washington Nationals tied the Mets, 4-4, Sunday in Port St. Lucie. Dusty Baker has led Washington to a stellar 17-4-3 record so far this spring. 

Nationals fans knew Yusmeiro Petit too well before he was signed this offseason to a 1 year/$3 million contract. He pitched six shutout innings in Game 2 of the 2014 NLDS (a game that went 18 innings) and stunted the National’s best chance at an NLCS appearance.

What better — or worse — “tryout” could there have been?

He joins Jonathan Papelbon as members of the bullpen whom fans don’t exactly feel endeared to, but that should disappear with some good outings to begin the year. Petit gives Dusty Baker some much-needed flexibility and helps fill one of last season’s major holes.

He can throw one or five innings as a reliever and loses little, if any, of his effectiveness the longer his outing. The absence of Craig Stammen may do less damage with Petit healthy. Washington tried him out in a “starting” role today in a split-squad matchup against New York.

The 31-year-old was rocky from the start, allowing home runs to David Wright (solo) and Michael Conforto (two-run) in the first two innings respectively. Wright drove in Curtis Granderson with a center field single in the fifth to give the Mets a 4-1 advantage. 

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Petit finished with four runs allowed on eight hits and one walk in 4 1/3 innings.

On the other side, Mets starter Steven Matz gathered five groundouts and four strikeouts in 3 1/3 innings before Clint Robinson hit a solo shot. Matz’s spring hadn’t been pretty; he carried an 8.31 ERA into Sunday, but Robinson’s homer was his only hit allowed in 5 2/3 innings.

The Nationals’ rally to tie it at 4-4 began with a Matt den Dekker RBI single in the seventh. Danny Espinosa scored on a groundout in the eighth and Anthony Rendon scored on an off-target pickoff throw later that inning.

While Matz did cruise through the Nats lineup,  Baker had little to work with as much of the squad was facing the Braves in Viera. Reed Johnson started in right field, Tony Campana in left, and Jose Lobaton at catcher. Chris Heisey replaced Johnson in the seventh and hit a double off of Logan Verrett.

Notes: Washington traded 29-year-old first baseman/outfielder Tyler Moore to the Atlanta Braves in exchange for 29-year-old first baseman Nate Freiman earlier today. Moore, a 2008 16th-round-pick, cleared waivers earlier this week and was then sent to Triple-A Syracuse after managing just four hits in 31 at-bats this spring.

In 301 plate appearances combined over two years in the majors, Freiman (a 6’8” right-handed first baseman) hit .256/.309/.408 line with 18 doubles and 10 home runs. An interesting little tidbit — he is one of the tallest position players in major league history.

Next Up: The Nationals will host the Miami Marlins Monday afternoon at Space Coast Stadium (1:05 PM ET). Stephen Strasburg (2-0, 3.21) will face Miami’s Chris Narveson (1-1, 5.79).

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