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Mets Morning News: Mets celebrate Labor Day with victory over Nationals

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Your Tuesday morning dose of New York Mets and MLB news, notes, and links

MLB: New York Mets at Washington Nationals Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Meet the Mets

The Mets spent their Labor Day afternoon opening up a three-game series with the Washington Nationals as both clubs continue to fight for postseason spots. The Mets prevailed in the first battle between the division rivals, as a strong start by Noah Syndergaard and some excellent production from the offense led to a 7-3 win. The two clubs will go at it again tonight in a battle between Cy Young contenders, as Jacob deGrom will face off against Max Scherzer.

Choose your recap: Amazin’ Avenue short and long, Daily News, Bergen County Record, MLB.com, Newsday, Post, NY Times

Syndergaard entered the game coming off the worst start of his career against the Cubs last week, but he bounced back in a big way.

Jeff McNeil hit his 17th homer of the season in the fourth inning of yesterday’s game. He had been fighting a rare slump prior to that at-bat, but Chili Davis helped him make an adjustment which resulted in his blast.

In his first start after coming off the IL, Brandon Nimmo went 1-for-3 with a double and two walks. Between getting on-base and providing endless energy, he very quickly reminded the Mets how big an impact he is capable of having.

Edwin Diaz got the final out of yesterday’s game. His slider seems to have finally come around, which will hopefully lead to a strong final month for the once and (hopefully) future All-Star closer.

Diaz had to enter the game because Tyler Bashlor wasn’t able to put the Nationals away on his own. Still, the September call-up understands the importance of making a good impression with the club in the final month of the season.

Robinson Cano served as the designated hitter for the Brooklyn Cyclones yesterday and went 0-for-3 with an RBI. It’s possible the veteran second baseman will make his return to the major leagues today, though the exact plan for him—both in terms of his exact return date and his role with the team once he does come back—is still up in the air.

The Mets certainly hurt their chances at making the postseason with their losing streak last week, but all hope might not be lost. Tim Britton over at The Athletic took a look at some of the potential paths for the Mets to make the playoffs.

Around the National League East

The Nationals fans were often drowned out by Mets fans yesterday. It was symptomatic of a larger problem for a team that, in spite of a solid record, has struggled to draw in a sizable attendance to its games this season.

Josh Donaldson hit his 34th homer and Mike Soroka got his 11th win of the season as the Braves prevailed over the Blue Jays 6-3. The win wasn’t the only good news for Atlanta yesterday, as former manager Bobby Cox made his return to SunTrust Park five months after suffering a stroke.

The Phillies socked four homers—two off the bat of Rhys Hoskins—on their way to a 7-1 victory over the Reds.

Around Major League Baseball

After being held scoreless for the first six innings of play, the Cubs put up a five-spot in the seventh inning of yesterday’s game against the Mariners, which was enough to give them a 5-1 victory. With that win, the Cubs held their ground in the second wild card spot and gained a game on the Nationals.

Christian Yelich hit his 43rd homer of the season against Roberto Osuna in the ninth inning to send the game between the Brewers and Astros into extra innings. However, George Springer hit a solo shot of his own in the tenth, which was enough to sink Milwaukee. The 3-2 loss puts the Brew Crew in a tie with the Mets in the wild card standings, as both clubs are currently four games back.

MLB.com compiled some of the crazy stats from this season. They also took a look at players who have only played for one major league team, yet may find themselves saying goodbye after this season.

The knuckleball has been struggling to stay relevant in the major leagues in recent years, but it’s premature to call the pitch extinct. RAmen.

Tragedy struck the Tigers organization, as minor league catcher Chace Numata died at the age of 27 after suffering injuries in a skateboarding accident. Numata was drafted by the Phillies in the 14th round of the 2010 draft and had also played in the Yankees organization before making his way to Detroit.

Yesterday at Amazin’ Avenue

Vasilis Drimalitis previewed the series against the Nationals, and he predicted the Mets would lose two of three to their division rivals. Just need one more win to prove him wrong!

The latest episode of From Complex to Queens took a look at the playoff contenders in the Mets’ system as the minor league season draws to a close.

Allison McCague provided us with an overview of how the Mets’ hitters and pitchers have performed over the past week.

This Date in Mets History

Quite a few Mets have had three-homer games over the course of their 57-year history. On this date in 1965, they had their very first of the bunch, as original Met Jim Hickman hit three off Ray Sadecki and the Cardinals in a 6-3 win for the Amazins.