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First-place Mets welcome rival Nationals to Citi Field for first time this year

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The Mets swept the Nationals last weekend in Washington D.C.

Milwaukee Brewers v New York Mets Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images

The New York Mets (12-2) are off to their best 14-game start in franchise history and remain in first place in the National League East. After winning two out of three against the Milwaukee Brewers, the Mets will welcome their division rivals, the Washington Nationals (7-9), into Citi Field for three crucial early-season games.

New York will look to add some distance in between themselves and Washington and build on their sweep in Washington last weekend. The Mets also luck out, as they will miss both Nationals aces Stephen Strasburg and Max Scherzer during the series.

The Mets are coming off their fifth consecutive series win against the Milwaukee Brewers at Citi Field over the weekend. The Mets extended their winning streak to nine games on Friday night behind Todd Frazier’s first two home runs as a Met. The win streak was finally snapped on Saturday night, as Matt Harvey struggled through five innings. Brewers starter Chase Anderson kept the Mets offense in check all night, as they mustered only three hits and one run in the loss.

The Mets closed out the series with a Sunday afternoon win on a Wilmer Flores walk-off home run in the ninth inning. Mets ace Noah Syndergaard recorded 11 strikeouts, including eight in a row, in five-and-one-third innings pitched. The Mets’ infield defense, highlighted by Amed Rosario’s errant throws and a Todd Frazier error, struggled throughout the game, leading to two unearned runs. However, the bullpen continued its strong early-season run and kept the Brewers in check before Flores’s heroics.

The Nationals limp into New York after losing three out of four games at home to the Colorado Rockies. The Nationals offense struggled throughout the series and has cooled off following a red-hot start. The Nationals dropped the Thursday night opener 5-1, as they only mustered one run (a Howie Kendrick home run) off Rockies starter Chad Bettis. They followed that up with a 2-1 loss on Friday night, as the offense could only produce four hits off Rockies pitching.

The Nationals found the win column on Saturday, as their offense broke through for 12 hits and six run. That was more than enough for Scherzer, who recorded 11 strikeouts over seven innings to lower his ERA to 1.33 on the season. The Nationals dropped the finale 6-5 in a back-and-forth battle. Bryce Harper picked up his league-leading seventh home run on the season, but it was not enough to help the Nationals secure a series split.

The Nationals, who are currently in fourth place, went 3-7 on their first home stand of the year after being swept by the Mets and winning two of out three against the Atlanta Braves. They are six games behind the first-place Mets.

PITCHING PROBABLES

Monday, April 16: Jeremy Hellickson vs. Jacob deGrom, 7:10 p.m. on SNY

Hellickson (2018): 0.0 IP, 0 K, 0 BB, 0 HR, 0.00 ERA, 0.00 FIP, 0.00 WHIP

Hellickson makes his first start of the 2018 season after splitting time with the Baltimore Orioles and Philadelphia Phillies in 2017. In 164 innings last year, he had a 5.43 ERA to go along with 96 strikeouts and 47 walks. Hellickson, who signed a minor league deal with the Nationals on March 17, will replace A.J. Cole in the rotation.

deGrom (2018): 17.2 IP, 18 K, 5 BB, 1 HR, 3.06 ERA, 2.78 FIP, 1.13 WHIP

Jacob deGrom picked up a no-decision on April 10 as the Mets earned a come-from-behind victory in Miami. He gave up four runs and seven hits in six innings while striking out seven Marlins. He earned victories in his first two starts this season but has yet to throw a pitch in the seventh inning. Following a series where Mets relievers threw a lot of innings, the Mets will hope to see deGrom give them some distance on Monday night.

Tuesday, April 17: Giovanni Gonzalez vs. Zack Wheeler, 7:10 p.m. on SNY

Gonzalez (2018): 16.1 IP, 20 K, 7 BB, 1 HR, 2.20 ERA, 2.69 FIP, 1.41 WHIP

Gio Gonzalez picked up the loss on Thursday night, giving up two earned runs in five innings and striking out seven. He is coming off one of his best seasons, where he won 15 games and posted a 2.96 ERA. Gonzalez has handled the Mets very well in his career, going 14-5 in 23 career starts with a 2.93 ERA.

Wheeler (2018): 7.0 IP, 7 K, 1 BB, 1 HR, 1.29 ERA, 3.34 FIP, 0.43 WHIP

Zack Wheeler will make his second start of the season on Tuesday after an excellent debut. He was brilliant against Miami on Wednesday night, as he needed only 83 pitches to complete seven strong innings. The most impressive part of his start was that he got better as the game moved along and retired the last 16 batters he faced.

Wednesday, April 18: Tanner Roark vs. Steven Matz, 7:10 p.m. on SNY

Roark (2018): 18.0 IP, 18 K, 6 BB, 3 HR, 3.50 ERA, 4.23 FIP, 1.00 WHIP

Tanner Roark was a hard-luck loser in his last start against the Colorado Rockies on Thursday night. He pitched six solid innings and only gave up one earned run, but it was not enough to get the win.

Matz (2018): 14.1 IP, 17 K, 7 BB, 4 HR, 3.77 ERA, 5.99 FIP, 1.19 WHIP

Stephen Matz got the win against the Milwaukee Brewers on Friday night, though his start was hardly impressive. He went five-and-one-third innings and allowed four runs (three earned) in the victory. He hasn’t pitched a full six innings yet and, dating back to 2017, he hasn’t record six innings pitched since July 3 against the Nationals. The Mets will need Matz to provide some length in order to provide some relief to an already overworked bullpen.

Prediction: The Mets will continue their early-season success and take two of three against the Nationals

Poll

How will the Mets fare against the Washington Nationals in this series?

This poll is closed

  • 26%
    A sweep sounds sweet!
    (45 votes)
  • 56%
    Two out of three ain’t bad
    (98 votes)
  • 7%
    The Nationals get revenge with two out of three
    (13 votes)
  • 2%
    The Mets come crashing back down to earth as the Nationals win all three
    (4 votes)
  • 7%
    Pizza
    (13 votes)
173 votes total Vote Now