Washington Nationals: Incredible inning salvages Jeremy Hellickson’s debut

NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 16: Jeremy Hellickson
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 16: Jeremy Hellickson /

A solid debut from Jeremy Hellickson and an incredible inning led to an 8-6 win for the Washington Nationals over the New York Mets on Monday night.

After a rough start to the season for A.J. Cole, the Washington Nationals replaced him in the rotation with veteran Jeremy Hellickson. Despite a no decision, the Nats’ newest starter impressed in his season debut.

In 4.2 innings, Hellickson held the Mets to two runs on seven hits and a walk. Although his lack of a put-away pitch limited his strikeout total to three, he found success by pounding the zone. Of his 88 pitches, 61 were strikes.

Although Hellickson was largely unspectacular, he put the Nats in a position to win. It is not as sexy as Max Scherzer retiring 20 straight, but that is a solid outing for a fifth starter.

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Unfortunately, Matt Grace and Cole diminished the Nats’ chances to win by allowing four runs (three earned) in two innings. All of a sudden, a one-run deficit quintupled.

Then, the Nats’ offense came to life.

Bryce Harper began the game with an unbelievable broken bat home run, but the team somehow outdid that in the eighth.

The Mets’ bullpen, which led the majors in ERA entering the game, turned Jacob deGrom‘s gem into a deficit before they could record two outs. deGrom, Seth Lugo, Jerry Blevins, AJ Ramos, and Jeurys Familia combined to allow five hits and three walks, en route to an epic implosion.

Most of the game looked bleak for the Nats, but they finally showed some fight and stole a victory from the Mets.

A season cannot be determined in April, but, if it could, Monday night’s comeback was enormous. If the Nats lost, they would have been three games under .500 and trailing the Mets by seven games in the division. Instead, they are one game under .500 and only trail the Mets by five games.

Nothing could go wrong for the Mets, as they entered the night 12-2, but reality finally set in. They are undoubtedly a good team. But they are not 12-2 good, even if everyone is healthy.

An unsung hero for the Nats was Pedro Severino, who entered the game in the bottom of the seventh. The young backstop went 1-for-2 and scored the game-tying run in the eighth.

Severino also impressed defensively, throwing Asdrubal Cabrera out when he attempted to take third on a pitch in the dirt. Despite not making the Opening Day roster, he has made quite the impact.

Next: Matt Wieters on the verge of breaking out

Zack Wheeler, who has struggled against the Nats in the past, will attempt to even the series for the Mets on Tuesday. He will be opposed by lefty Gio Gonzalez, which will be interesting, given the Mets’ left-handed power.