The Mets (32-17) welcome the Nationals (18-31) to Citi Field for the first time in 2022 as they close out their Memorial Day homestand. New York has traveled to DC twice this season, winning five of the seven games they’ve played down there. Last season, the Mets took seven out of nine games against the Nationals on their home turf.
The Mets bounced back from a series loss against the Giants—it was only their second series loss of the year and third time they didn’t win a series in 2022—by sweeping the Phillies at Citi Field. The Mets took the opener 8-6, though things got dicey as a laughter turned into a nail biter. New York plated three in the first, with back-to-back runs coming in on shallow sacrifice flies to Nick Castellanos, whose weak arm allowed both Brandon Nimmo and Starling Marte to test him and come home safely. The Mets added two more in the third on Pete Alonso’s homer, and another two in the fourth on run-scoring hits from Francisco Lindor and Alonso again. The Mets seemed to be in cruise control, but Philadelphia stormed back with six in the sixth, three of which came in on a Garrett Stubbs homer off Chasen Shreve. The Mets got one back in the bottom half of the frame on Marte’s run-scoring ground out, and the bullpen held the lead from there to preserve the win.
The Mets built up another big lead on Saturday, and they would hold it this time as they ended up with an 8-2 win on fireworks night at Citi Field. Dominic Smith got the scoring started in the second with a sacrifice fly to make it 1-0. The Phillies took a momentary lead on J.T. Realmuto’s two-run single in the fourth, but the Mets answered right back in the bottom half of the inning on Jeff McNeil’s three-run homer into the Coca Cola Corner. Lindor tripled home two runs in the fifth—Philadelphia’s comical outfield defense again reared it’s ugly/beautiful head (depending on your perspective) to aid Lindor’s triple—while Alonso brought a run home on a sacrifice fly. The RBI gave him 29 for the month of May, which established a record for most runs driven in by a Met in May. The Mets added one more in the seventh on a Lindor single, and it was smooth sailing from there.
The Mets almost blew a golden opportunity on Sunday night, but recovered for an exciting 5-4 win in walk off fashion. They plated three runs off Zack Wheeler in the first, aided by some soft hits and another defensive lapse by the Phillies. However, that was all Wheeler would give up, as he cruised through the next five frames. Chris Bassitt, meanwhile, tossed six innings of one-run ball and put his team in a terrific position to win. The Mets took a 3-1 lead into the 8th, when Castellanos unloaded on a three-run home run off Adam Ottavino to give the Phillies their first lead of the night. Things stayed that way until the ninth, when Nick Plummer, the unlikeliest of heroes, picked up his first career hit in the best spot possible. The back-up outfielder took Phillies’ closer Corey Knebel deep on the first pitch of the inning, sending the ball at 113 mph into the Coca Cola Corner and sending the game into extra innings. There, Eduardo Escobar would play hero with the walk-off double to drive in Marte with the game-winning run.
With the win, the Mets opened up the largest lead the franchise has ever held going into Memorial Day. The Mets head into action tonight 8.5 games clear of the second place Braves (23-25), while the sweep helped opened up a 10.5 game lead on the Phillies (21-27). Meanwhile, the Marlins (19-26) are 11 back, while last place Washington is 14 back at the start of play today. Alonso has two more games to drive in five runs, which would tie Gary Carter’s club record for 34 runs batted in in a single month (34 in September 1985). Overall, he’s having a spectacular May, hitting .317/.390/.604 with eight home runs and a 172 wRC+ in 27 games.
The Nationals come into this series after taking three of four games at home against the Rockies. In all, they arrive at Citi Field as winners of four of their last five games.
Juan Soto, who is the main threat in Washington’s lineup, hasn’t been playing his best ball since the Mets last departed DC. The outfielder is slashing .170/.353/.302 with one homer and a 98 wRC+ since May 13. Josh Bell is having an even rougher go of it since that series against the Mets, as he has posted a .183/.239/.200 slash line with a 27 wRC+, which has resulted in a -0.6 fWAR, over his past 16 games. On the other hand, Nelson Cruz has been raking since May 13, hitting .375/.426/.482 with a 158 wRC+. If you focus in on just the past 10 games, Cruz is hitting .444/.487/.583 with a 202 wRC+. Cesar Hernandez has also helped pick up the offensive slack, hitting .325/.386/.425 with a 131 wRC+ over his past 10 games.
Monday, May 30: Erick Fedde vs. David Peterson, 7:10 p.m. on SNY
Fedde (2022): 45.2 IP, 42 K, 22 BB, 5 HR, 3.55 ERA, 4.18 FIP, 1.38 WHIP, 1.0 bWAR
Fedde got off to a slow start this year, but he has picked it up in May and is putting together one of the best months of his career. In five starts this month, Fedde is rocking a 1.95 ERA, a 3.94 FIP, a 1.27 WHIP, and 23 strikeouts in 27.2 innings. His 1.0 bWAR is already the second-best of his career, behind just his 1.5 bWAR in 2020. His last start was one of his best, as he scattered four hits and shut out a very potent Dodgers lineup over 6.0 innings. He had a solid outing against the Mets on April 10, as he allowed two earned runs on five hits in 5.0 innings against them in his first start of 2022.
Peterson (2022): 25.0 IP, 22 K, 9 BB, 2 HR, 2.16 ERA, 3.63 FIP, 1.00 WHIP, 0.8 bWAR
Peterson has truly done a terrific job in a pinch for the Mets, who’ve lost their two best starting pitchers and have had to rely on their entire depth chart to get them through this early part of the season. His last start was his best yet, as he limited San Francisco to two earned runs on three hits while striking out six over 6.0 innings. With Jacob deGrom and Max Scherzer both out until around the All Star break, Peterson will continue to get chances alongide Tylor Megill in the team’s rotation.
Tuesday, May 31: Patrick Corbin vs. Trevor Williams, 7:10 p.m. on SNY
Corbin (2022): 50.0 IP, 42 K, 22 BB, 6 HR, 6.30 ERA, 4.53 FIP, 1.66 WHIP, -0.7 bWAR
Corbin finally earned his first win of 2022 in his tenth start of the season. The left-hander, who has had all sorts of trouble since arriving in DC, recorded only his second Quality Start of the year as he allowed three earned runs on seven hits against the Rockies. This comes on the heels of back-to-back outings in which he was charged with five earned runs, albeit against two pretty good clubs in the Astros and the Brewers. He’s allowed the most earned runs (35) of any NL pitcher this year. He did have one of his more successful outings against the Mets back on May 10, as he shut them out over five innings, though he did walk four.
Williams (2022): 22.20 IP, 22 K, 4 BB, 3 HR, 4.37 ERA, 3.59 FIP, 1.24 WHIP, -0.1 bWAR
Williams did an admirable job cleaning up in the wake of Thomas Szapucki’s disastrous first major league start. After Szapucki was tattooed for nine earned runs in 1.1 innings, Williams, who was passed over for the start since he was only on three day’s rest, came in and held the Giants to just one hit over 3.2 innings of relief. He struck out five and walked two, but he kept San Francisco off the board and ate up some innings for the bullpen. It was a nice bounce-back for Williams, who gave up four earned runs at Coors Field in his previous start. On the whole, the right-hander has been, at the very least, dependable in these spot start/long relief outings, and the club will continue calling upon him as long as Megill is on the shelf, especially after Szapucki’s failed major league audition.
Wednesday, June 1: TBD vs. Carlos Carrasco, 1:10 p.m. on SNY
The Nationals have not yet named a starting pitcher for Wednesday’s matinee finale. Given Friday’s rainout, they don’t have anyone lined up for this start. They could go with a bullpen game, or recall someone from Triple-A to make the spot start.
Carrasco (2022): 52.0 IP, 46 K, 10 BB, 3 HR, 3.98 ERA, 2.82 FIP, 1.15 WHIP, 0.7 bWAR
Carrasco’s final line from his last start really doesn’t tell the full story, as he did really well but ran into some bad luck in his final frame. He ended up allowing five earned runs on six hits over 5.2 innings, which was good enough for him to earn his fifth win of the year but still knocked his ERA up by almost a half-run. He struck out seven, walked one, and hit one batter during his outing, though all of that trouble came in the sixth after five shutout frames. He’s faced Washington twice this year and has allowed a total of three earned runs on nine hits with 10 strikeouts over 12.1 innings.
Prediction: The Mets drop the middle game but take the Memorial Day contest and the Wednesday matinee to secure another series victory over the Nationals.
How will the Mets fare in their three game series against the Nationals?
This poll is closed
The Mets sweep the last-place Nationals at home!
The Mets seem comfortable taking two of three, and they continue that trend.
The Mets win one but drop two against Washington.
The Mets are swept at Citi Field by the pesky Nats.