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Two months later, Mets finally set for series at Nationals Park

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The Mets were set to open their season in DC before a COVID-19 outbreak on the Nationals halted those plans.

Pittsburgh Pirates v Washington Nationals Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images

The Mets (35-26) begin a critical stretch against divisional opponents with four games against the Washington Nationals (30-35) in our nation’s capital. These two teams were originally scheduled to open the season against one another at Nationals Park, but a COVID-19 outbreak on the Nationals prevented that from happening. When the two teams faced off at Citi Field in April, the Mets won two out of three.

The Mets are coming off a series win against the Chicago Cubs at Citi Field. On Monday, David Peterson bounced back from a rough stretch and turned in six stellar innings of one-hit ball. James McCann got the Mets on the board with a fourth-inning single, and Kevin Pillar drove in two with a double. Dominic Smith broke out of his 0-for-20 stretch with a single, and homered in the fifth to give the Mets a four-run lead. The club grew their lead to five, but Trevor May gave up back-to-back homers to Anthony Rizzo and Patrick Wisdom in the seventh to draw Chicago closer. Aaron Loup and Edwin Díaz shut the door to help the Met secure the 5-2 win.

The Mets beat Chicago again 3-2 on Tuesday night. Taijuan Walker struck out a career-high 12 batters and was once again terrific. He surrendered a two-run homer to Javier Baez in the third but was otherwise tremendous. Pete Alonso provided all of the offense for the Mets on the evening, tying the game up with a two-run single in the third and a sacrifice fly in the fifth. With Diaz unavailable, Seth Lugo was tasked with the final two innings. After a quick eighth, he labored in the ninth, but Pillar and Luis Guillorme were able to team up to throw Jake Marisnick out at the plate to maintain New York’s lead. The Cubs eventually got the tying run in scoring position, but they were unable to push it across.

New York made it three straight against Chicago on Wednesday with a 6-3 victory. Jacob deGrom struck out eight over three perfect innings, but he exited with right shoulder soreness and was unable to complete what was shaping up to be a magical evening. Pillar got the Mets on the board against Robert Stock with a second-inning double to drive in Billy McKinney, and deGrom again helped his cause with a run-scoring single. Smith hit his second homer of the series in the third. Sean Reid-Foley, who was in for deGrom, surrendered a homer to Rizzo in the fourth but otherwise gave the team two solid innings. The Mets added two runs in the fourth, and Pillar hit a homer in the fifth to make it 6-1. The Mets cruised until the ninth, when Drew Smith gave up a two-run homer to Rafael Ortega, which forced the Mets to use Diaz for a one-out save.

For the second straight series, the Mets couldn’t complete a sweep as they dropped the finale 2-0 to the Cubs. Marcus Stroman served up a two-run homer to Baez in the first, which was the only blemish against his record as he turned in seven strong innings. Unfortunately, the Mets’ bats couldn’t do much against Kyle Hendricks, picking up just two hits as they went quietly into the night.

Starting on Friday, the Mets will play 16 straight games against teams from within their division, which includes three doubleheaders in the next eight days. The Mets currently hold a four-and-a-half game lead over the second-place Philadelphia Phillies, whom they will play four times at Citi Field next weekend. The Mets hold a six-and-a-half game lead over the third place Atlanta Braves and will play them four times at Citi Field next week and three times at Truist Park at the end of the month.

The Mets should be getting reinforcements back in time for most of the games. Jeff McNeil should be back on Sunday or Monday, according to Luis Rojas. Meanwhile, Michael Conforto has begun his path back, while Brandon Nimmo is expected to begin an assignment this weekend.

The Nationals enter this series on a four-game winning streak after sweeping the hapless Pittsburgh Pirates earlier this week. In total, they have won six of their last eight games heading into play tonight. Washington is currently second-to-last in MLB with 3.80 runs-per-game, and their 3.31 runs-per-game puts them at the very bottom of all baseball teams.

Juan Soto remains the player to watch as he finds himself as one of the league’s rising young stars. The 22-year-old currently leads the club with a 124 wRC+ while hitting .266/.393/.426 with eight homers and a 1.4 fWAR in 55 games. Trea Turner has also had a terrific season after finishing seventh in MVP voting last year. The shortstop is slashing .303/.347/.466 with ten homers, a 122 wRC+, and a team-best 2.4 fWAR in 65 games. Kyle Schwarber, whom the club signed over the winter, leads the team with 13 homers to go along with a .230/.318/.455 with a 0.8 fWAR in 57 games.

Friday, June 18: Joey Lucchesi vs. Erick Fedde, 7:05 p.m. on SNY

Lucchesi (2021): 33.0 IP, 36 K, 9 BB, 4 HR, 5.18 ERA, 3.55 FIP, 1.18 WHIP, -0.3 bWAR

Lucchesi continues to build upon every solid outing and has given the team continued confidence as they send him out there. In his last start, he lasted five innings for the first time this season, allowing one earned run on four hits with one walk and six strikeouts against the San Diego Padres. It was his second straight solid outing against a strong Padres’ lineup, and he tossed a season-high 72 pitches in the outing. He’s been good over his last four appearances, even if he can’t give the club a lot of length. In those starts, he has a 1.56 ERA, a 3.16 FIP, a 0.87 WHIP, and a 30.2% K% in 17.1 innings.

Fedde (2021): 44.1 IP, 43 K, 18 BB, 5 HR, 3.86 ERA, 3.97 FIP, 1.20 WHIP, 0.3 bWAR

Fedde is riding a 13-inning scoreless streak into his Friday start against the Mets. In his last outing on June 12, which was his first since returning from the COVID-19 IL, he shut out the San Francisco Giants over five innings while scattering four hits and striking out seven. It was his first start this year where he did not walk a batter. In his prior start on May 16, he pitched seven scoreless against the Arizona Diamondbacks in his longest start of the year, while giving up three hits, walking two, and striking out four. The right-hander has struggled against the Mets, pitching to a 5.23 ERA in 31.0 innings against them.

Saturday, June 19, Game 1: David Peterson vs. Jon Lester, 1:05 p.m. on WPIX

Peterson (2021): 53.0 IP, 56 K, 23 BB, 9 HR, 5.60 ERA, 4.73 FIP, 1.40 WHIP, -0.8 bWAR

Peterson turned in the best start of his young career on Monday against the Cubs. For the first time in his young career, the 25-year-old pitched six shutout innings and, in the process, he lowered his ERA by almost a full run. He limited Chicago to one hit while walking two and striking out three, and he picked up his second win of the season. Prior to that, he tossed a combined three innings over his last two starts while giving up nine earned runs in those outings. It was a positive sign for the previously-struggling Peterson, who has been up-and-down this year. The club will hope that they see more of that Peterson, and less of the Peterson they saw against the Diamondbacks and the Baltimore Orioles earlier this month.

Lester (2021): 44.0 IP, 29 K, 17 BB, 7 HR, 4.09 ERA, 5.07 FIP, 1.48 WHIP, 0.2 bWAR

After spending most of the first month of the season on the COVID-19 IL, the former Cubs and Boston Red Sox starter is still searching for his first win with the Nationals after signing a one-year deal over the winter. In nine tries, he has only recorded one quality start, and has only pitched into the sixth inning three times. His best outing came on May 12, when he went six and was charged with one earned run on six hits against the Phillies, an outing which preceded two starts where he gave up five runs and six runs. He’s been better in June, pitching to a 2.45 ERA in 14.2 innings over three starts, though his FIP and WHIP during the month are 6.50 and 1.50, respectively.

Saturday, June 19, Game 2: TBD vs. Joe Ross, 6:05 p.m. on SNY

TBD

The Mets have not yet named a starter for Game 2 of their doubleheader against the Mets. The Mets will likely go with a bullpen game.

Ross (2021): 62.1 IP, 60 K, 24 BB, 11 HR, 4.19 ERA, 4.93 FIP, 1.25 WHIP, 0.3 bWAR

Ross is coming off his best start of the 2021 season. In his last outing, he shut out the Giants over eight innings, scattering five hits while striking out nine. The right-hander, who currently has a 3.47 BB/9, managed to make it through the outing without issuing a free pass for the first time in his 12 starts. It was also the 28-year-old’s first win since he picked up the victory on April 24 against the Mets. In that start, he went six innings and was charged with one earned run on five hits with one walk and four strikeouts.

Sunday, June 20: Taijuan Walker vs. Patrick Corbin, 1:05 p.m. on WPIX

Walker (2021): 68.0 IP, 72 K, 24 BB, 3 HR, 2.12 ERA, 2.76 FIP, 1.00 WHIP, 1.7 bWAR

Walker set a career high by striking out 12 Cubs batters in his last outing. He went seven innings and was charged with two earned runs on five hits, and he didn’t walk a batter as he picked up his sixth win as a Met. It was the fifth time this year that he completed seven innings of work in an outing. He served up his third homer of the season, but has otherwise been adept at avoiding the long ball. He currently owns a 0.4 HR/9, which is the best in the National League. His 2.12 ERA currently puts him at fifth in the National League. Earlier this year, he pitched seven shutout innings against the Nationals.

Corbin (2021): 70.2 IP, 55 K, 27 BB, 12 HR, 5.60 ERA, 5.04 FIP, 1.46 WHIP, -0.9 bWAR

Corbin pitched into the ninth inning his last time out for the Nationals in what was easily his best start of the season. In the outing, the left-hander tossed 8.1 innings, allowing one earned run on eight hits with one walk and seven strikeouts. He threw a season-high 110 pitches and was two outs short of a complete game as he earned his fourth win of the year. Prior to that, he allowed three or four earned runs while being unable to escape the sixth in each of his last five starts and has, overall, been a disappointment for the Nationals with Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg both fighting injuries. Earlier this year, he allowed four earned runs in four innings against the Mets and was saddled with a loss. In 18 appearances against the Mets, he owns a 4.44 ERA in 101.1 innings.

Prediction: The Mets take three of four from the Nationals in DC!

Poll

How will the Mets fare in their four game series against the Mets!

This poll is closed

  • 12%
    The Mets sweep the Nationals in DC!
    (18 votes)
  • 34%
    The Mets take three of four to keep rolling.
    (48 votes)
  • 35%
    The Mets and Nationals split their series.
    (49 votes)
  • 5%
    The Mets win one, but drop three in DC.
    (7 votes)
  • 0%
    The Mets are punished in a four game sweep in our nation’s capital.
    (1 vote)
  • 12%
    Pizza!
    (17 votes)
140 votes total Vote Now