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After much success, the Mets lost their third straight game last night. And once again shaky infield defense contributed to the defeat as Daniel Murphy dropkicked Bryce Harper’s grounder in the first inning. It’s been a difficult two games for Murphy.
Two batters later, Adam LaRoche launched a three-run home run off Jeremy Hefner as the Nationals went on to a 5-3 victory at Nationals Park as the Mets mustered only three hits off Edwin Jackson over seven innings.
The Mets are flunking their first big test. This loss comes after the deplorable, 7-6, 12-inning defeat as the infield fell to pieces.
THE BEST DEFENSE: Terry Collins, exchanging words with relief pitcher Tim Byrdak last night in Washington, and the Mets spoke with injured soldiers at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., yesterday. “It’s a reality check,” the Mets’ manager said.
The Nationals are showing they are better than the Mets in a number of areas.
“We knew they had very, very good pitching and they’re showing that,’’ Mets manager Terry Collins said. “The other thing they do is they are real athletic, they have a lot of speed, they catch the ball defensively, so you’ve got to really peck away. They got a good club.
“This is no time to feel sorry for ourselves.”
Collins is so right. It isn’t time for the Mets to feel sorry for themselves and the Mets received a reminder of that before the game when they visited Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md. They came away from the experience with a much deeper appreciation for the heroes of our nation.
“There are 2,600 people there, men, women who have given limbs and who knows what the recovery psychology will be, that’s something that I could not even comment on, so that this nation could have freedom,’’ Murphy told The Post. “It was just such a humbling experience in every way.’’
Collins was overwhelmed.
“It’s a reality check,’’ he said. “[Tuesday] night wasn’t quite as tough when you see some of the losses that we saw today. Those guys want to talk about what they are going through, they want to talk about the things that they’ve experienced.
“You leave there with a different perspective. We have no concept of what these guys have to deal with, none.
“I talked to a guy who went on a six-day mission,’’ Collins said. “He had one meal in six days. He had one night’s sleep in six days. We don’t have any idea how you can perform under those type of circumstances and they have to or they die.’’
Collins told the story of a soldier who was an IED (improvised explosive device) sweeper.
“He said he swept a school that wasn’t very big and said he found 47 IEDs that they had put in the school. The next day he was set to head out on another assignment and one little kid walked up to him and thanked him so that he could go back to school.’’
The wounded soldier told Collins he would go back and do it all over again.
That soldier, Collins said, “was shot through the side, has had over 25 surgeries and was put in a three-week medically induced coma so he could get through the surgeries. We have no idea.’’
No, we don’t.
As for the baseball side of life, Collins said he is not going to take off on his team just yet.
“If we have another couple of ugly games, then I got something to say because now we are starting to lose focus and there might be the old, ‘woe is me, woe is us’ kind of stuff. That’s the kind of stuff I am not going to tolerate.’’
There’s no time for woe for these Mets.
Said Murphy, “The thing that really struck home for me today, and I’ve been going there a few years, each room we went into, there were wives and families there, too and you don’t even think about the ripple effect, the impact it has for a mother to see her son in that situation.
“It must just rip you apart. You have to remember those people in your prayers, too.’’
Terry Collins, the Mets, Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, Mets, Daniel Murphy, Mets manager Terry Collins