Ike Davis contributed a two-run sixth-inning double during a 2-for-3 night with three RBIs as the Mets beat the Nationals, 5-2, on Tuesday.
New York Mets
• Chris Young limited the Nationals to one run and four hits while striking out one and walking one in 5 1/3 innings. Afterward, Terry Collins all but acknowledged Young was lining up for the No. 4 start, which would be the series opener in Philadelphia, likely opposite Cole Hamels.
"He's on schedule to do that. I think, yeah," Collins said. "Right now that's where we're kind of looking at him, for sure."
Young sat at 85-86 mph with his fastball, up from the last outing, when Young was dissatisfied with the mound.
“He got good stride and the release point was good,” Collins said. "I was very, very happy with what I saw."
Before he took the mound Tuesday, scouts at the game predicted a solid year from Young if he stayed healthy. They noted that Young and Washington’s Tyler Clippard both have success in part because their left elbows serve to hide the ball and create deception, leaving the batters less reaction time.
Young, by the way, is seriously considering heading to Tampa on Thursday afternoon to watch his alma mater Princeton play Kentucky in the NCAA Tournament, although he is concerned about the 2:45 p.m. tipoff time being too early for the cross-state commute.
“I’d love to see it, but I’m not going to sacrifice anything I have to do here,” Young said about prioritizing his between-starts workout.
• Oliver Perez fell behind all three batters he faced, but nonetheless was unscathed in his second relief appearance while auditioning for a lefty specialist role. Perez next is scheduled to work back-to-back days Friday and Saturday.
The Nats helped Perez’s cause by lining up three straight left-handed batters for him -- Adam LaRoche, Laynce Nix and Rick Ankiel.
After falling behind LaRoche 3-0, Perez worked the count full, then walked LaRoche on a slider, although the southpaw may have been squeezed by plate umpire Gary Cederstrom. Perez then struck out Nix looking at an 86 mph, full-count fastball. His appearance ended when Ankiel sharply grounded a 3-1 pitch to Davis, who fumbled the ball but successfully flipped to Perez covering first base.
“Two important outs,” Perez said.
Said Collins: "He fell behind a little bit, but he made pitches."
Perez added that he’s not having any difficulty preparing for relief appearances, as opposed to the more regimented routine as a starting pitcher.
“I don’t have a problem warming up,” Perez said. “I try to understand the situation when I’m going to be in the game and warm up one inning before.”
Collins doesn't expect any imminent paring of the lefty specialist field, headlined by Tim Byrdak.
• Collins absolved Luis Castillo of not covering first base on what would have been a 3-2-4 double play. For one thing, Castillo said he was “a little bit” blocked from getting to the base by ump Hunter Wendelstedt. But, Collins added, it was Davis’ responsibility to get to first base -- not the second baseman's.
"It wasn't his ball," Collins said regarding Castillo. "Ike decided he wanted to go to the plate. He charged the ball. He didn't think he could get back to first if he threw to second, so he just went to the plate. But the second baseman never gets over. ... I've never seen that play with the second baseman covering first. Never."
• Francisco Rodriguez tossed a scoreless ninth with one walk and was credited with the save.
• Brad Emaus committed an error. Still, Collins said: "I know he can turn a double play. I want to see him get some more at-bats. I'm going to try to get him more at-bats this week, for sure, because that's what we got him for. We got him because he can hit. So I want to get him in that lineup and make sure he starts to get some quality at-bats."