Published November 20, 2014
Oh, and things were going so well for the Mets, too.
When Tuesday began, New York was undefeated and star third baseman David Wright was off to a roaring start with a homer and seven hits in four games.
When Tuesday ended, the Mets were no longer perfect, dominated by the Nationals' fifth starter in a 6-2 loss, and Wright was making plans to see a hand specialist about his broken right pinky finger.
Wright hurt himself diving back to a base in Monday night's game. His finger was swollen Tuesday and manager Terry Collins took him out of the lineup rather than risk messing up his swing by having him play through the pain.
"I couldn't grip a bat today — pretty easy decision today," Wright said "It's always frustrating to miss time, kind of breaks up the momentum we had."
Speaking of that: Ruben Tejada and Ronny Cedeno led off the first with hits, but Nationals starter Ross Detwiler struck out Daniel Murphy, retired Jason Bay on a popup and struck out Lucas Duda, then retired 12 of his next 13 batters.
Detwiler (1-0) gave up two hits in five scoreless innings and struck out six to stop the Mets from recording their first 5-0 start since 1985. Now New York will face ace Stephen Strasburg on Wednesday afternoon without its best hitter.
Wright was scheduled to see a hand specialist on Wednesday and will be fitted for a custom splint. The fracture is too small to be surgically reduced.
He was cleared to participate in baseball activities if he can take the pain. But the Mets didn't seem eager to let him try.
Collins remembered how Wright suffered in silence last season before revealing back pain that turned out to be stress fracture that sidelined him for two months.
"It would be the worst thing that could happen right now. It's his top hand, bottom finger," Collins said. "He is swinging the bat so well. It wouldn't make any sense to make adjustments to his swing."
Wright batted .226 last season before he went on the disabled list May 18 and sat out until July 22. The Mets don't know whether he will be placed on the disabled list this time.
Wright has a homer and four walks in four games this season, as well as at least one hit in each game. For Tuesday night's game against Washington, Collins moved Murphy to Wright's No. 3 spot in the order, and had Cedeno at third base and batting second.
Ian Desmond homered off Dillon Gee (0-1) leading off the game, and Jayson Werth had four of the Nationals' 13 hits. Werth began the season in a 1-for-14 rut.
"I feel like I've swung the bat pretty good since the middle of January with nothing to show for it," Werth said. "It's not how you start, it's how you finish."
After Desmond's early homer, Werth's RBI single made it 2-0 in the sixth. Bobby Parnell relieved with two on, and Murphy booted a grounder at second base as Werth scored. Wilson Ramos added a run-scoring double.
Gee, who led the Mets with 13 wins last season, allowed four runs — three earned — and eight hits in 5 1-3 innings. He struck out six and walked one.
"Thought he threw the ball good," Collins said. "If we make some plays behind him he leaves with a good outing."
Justin Turner hit an RBI single in the seventh for New York, and Cedeno doubled in a run in the eighth.
Washington third baseman Ryan Zimmerman got his 500th RBI with a sacrifice fly in the eighth.
NOTES: Nationals reliever Brad Lidge appeared to take a grounder off his leg in the ninth inning. He remained in the game after a visit from a trainer. ... Ike Davis pinch-hit for the Mets with two on and two outs in the seventh and struck out. New York's usual first baseman is also expected to sit against Strasburg on Wednesday. ... Strasburg will go against LHP Johan Santana (0-0), who made his first big league appearance since 2010 in the Mets' 1-0 win against Atlanta on opening day. ... Former Mets 2B Edgardo Alfonzo threw out the ceremonial first pitch. ... The sparse crowd on a cold, blustery night was announced at 26,927.