Juan Soto goes house in Mets loss as commerce deadline approaches


Juan Soto’s final game on Monday night was nothing out of the ordinary: He walked to the opener late in the eighth inning to get his third free pass of the game.

What happened next was not so typical: When Soto stripped off his gear along the first baseline, he received a standing ovation from fans at Nationals Park. They acknowledged the possibility that they had just watched his last disc appearance in the uniform of the Washington Nation. The same goes for Josh Bell, who lined up for the next game.

Both appearances don’t mean much on Mondays 7-3 lost to the New York Mets, but they could mean more than that ahead of Tuesday’s 6pm trading deadline. Soto knew it too – in a pitch change later in the half, he tipped his helmet to the fans before heading into the dugout.

“I am controlling what I can control,” Soto said. “Just go out there and play hard for the fans out there. Because like [the fans] said they love me. So I will love them back. “

Returning to the fourth game, Soto made his 21st home game of the season – beating former teammate Max Scherzer. He took his time going around the bases and touching the house board. He walked over to the canoe as the fans behind it stood and clapped their hands a little longer to enjoy the moment.

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Scherzer certainly understands Soto’s plight: He spent more than six years with Washington before being transferred to the Los Angeles Dodgers with Trea Turner at the end of last year, a move that took the 2019 World Series champion a step. in the reconstruction phase.

Scherzer’s presence on the mound is another reminder of the extent to which an organization can change at this time of year. Nine more rounds had passed on Monday night, and Soto and Bell were still with the Country. But a lot could change in the coming hours.

At last year’s trading deadline, the Nationals were 47-55. After Monday’s loss, they are 35-69 – the worst record in the majors. They are 31 games behind the first place team in the National League East.

Soto and Bell met Scherzer in the first inning – with the help of some poor defense. Soto did a full count, walked for two sets, then Bell doubled down to the right line. At first, it looked like it would put runners in second and third, but right puncher Starling Marte threw the ball down to second – where there were no teammates. Soto darted home and Bell advanced to third – with no Met covering that base – as Washington took the lead.

Soto will face Scherzer twice more, going home and then walking in the fifth inning. During each match, he performed his signature shuffling action and stared down Scherzer.

“[Scherzer] didn’t like it,” Soto said with a smile. “He bowed his head. … He doesn’t want to look at me. And I understand him because he’s doing his job. And he gives 100% – it doesn’t matter how good our relationship is.”

Soto’s swing as he threw Tomás Nido into the plate to end the second inning could have been even worse for starter Patrick Corbin, who was in labor. Despite Soto’s contributions, New York still led 3-1.

Washington finished with just six visits. After Soto’s home game in the fourth leg, Luis García beat Yadiel Hernandez at home to make it 4-3. Bell, a pending free agent, finished 1 to 4, but Soto’s final result is appropriate if this is his last game as a National: 1 to 1 with three walks, two runs and a 421-foot blast.

Manager Dave Martinez said: “Facing someone like Max, he has great shots. “Keeping the ball in the area, fouling on some good pitches, receiving the ball and hitting long distances.”

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Has anyone gotten used to watching Scherzer pitch for the Mets? The Nationals and Mets have faced off 11 times this season, but this is only Washington’s second glimpse of Scherzer. The sight of their former ace playing for a similarly ranked opponent still doesn’t feel normal for Martinez.

“It’s still weird,” he said before the game. “When you see him, you get a flashback in your head. But then I said, ‘Okay, we have to go out there and try to beat this guy. Find a way to do that. ‘”

Corbin fare like? He threw 90 throws and allowed four runs in 4⅓ innings. He’s about to have his worst start of the season – he didn’t make it past the first round against the Dodgers on Wednesday – but he was able to take a break to start the game on Monday.

But his next two innings looked a lot like what national team fans have been accustomed to over the past two seasons. In the second, the Mets scored three runs on five hits and one walk, with Soto’s assist eventually stopping the bleeding.

Pete Alonso hit a 110.9 mph bullet off Corbin in the next inning having just smashed the center left wall for his 27th home run. It took Corbin 24 pitches to get out of the fourth game without scoring, and after he retired Francisco Lindor in the first of the fifth, his night was complete. His ERA rose slightly to 6.57, and his record dropped to 4-15.

Lindor’s three-kick against Steve Cishek in the sixth inning ended the game.

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