The Mets (18-20) end their seven-game road trip in our nation’s capital for four against the Nationals (16-21). These two teams squared off at Citi Field towards the end of April, with Washington taking two out of three—the Mets almost blew the third game, but thankfully rebounded to avoid further embarrassment. There is a chance the Mets could find themselves in last place after this weekend, which would be an unfortunate development.
The Mets are coming off dropping two out of three to the Reds at Great American Ball Park. They were put in an unenviable position Tuesday night, having to scratch Max Scherzer due to neck spasms, and replacing him with David Peterson. Predictably, it resulted in a 7-6 loss, though the club did make a valiant comeback effort. At one point, New York trailed 7-1, but two homers from Francisco Álvarez and a solo homer from Pete Alonso got them to within four. Francisco Lindor contributed a two-run homer, and the Mets eventually made it a one-run ballgame, but that was as close as they would get.
The Mets put an end to their three-game losing streak with a 2-1 victory on Wednesday night. This was in large part due to Justin Verlander’s brilliance, as the future Hall of Famer tossed seven innings of one-run ball. He held Cincinnati off the board for the final six frames and allowed just two hits while striking out seven and walking two. In earning the victory, he became the 21st pitcher in major league history to defeat all 30 clubs. On offense, the Mets tied the game with an Alonso homer in the second inning—his second homer in as many games after hitting just one in the previous 14—and a Brandon Nimmo run-scoring single in the fourth.
The Mets concluded the series on Thursday afternoon with a 5-0 loss against Cincinnati’s vaunted bullpen. Kodai Senga had a rough first inning, allowing four earned runs on five hits and a walk though, in his defense, he looked fine on the mound and a couple of the hits were more bad luck than anything. He settled down to strike out six batters in a row and mostly held the Reds in check until Spencer Steer hit a solo homer with two outs in the fifth. It wouldn’t have mattered if Senga only allowed one run, in any event, because four Reds’ relievers combined to toss a six-hit shutout, making it the seventh shutout of the year for New York—for reference, they were only blanked eight times in all of 2022.
The Mets have now dropped five straight series (the first time they have done that since 2012), and you have to go back to April 17-19 for the last time they actually won a series (in Los Angeles against the Dodgers, no less). Over the course of this series, the team’s first inning woes continued, as the Reds scored six first inning runs in the three-game set. With that, the Mets have now been outscored 34-9 in the first frame this year. That’s not a great recipe for success, especially with the offense struggling the way it has been this season.
The Nationals come into this series after taking two out of three from the Giants. They have won three of their last four and six of their last nine. Overall, they are 7-6 since leaving Citi Field.
Washington enters play with the second-fewest runs scored among NL teams (149), ahead of only the Marlins, while their 87 wRC+ is in the bottom-third of NL clubs. Their rotation, meanwhile, sports a 4.37 ERA and a 4.61 FIP, which is good for eighth and eleventh in the NL, respectively. Their bullpen has pitched to a 4.55 ERA and a 4.99 FIP, while come in eleventh and dead-last, respectively, in the league.
Victor Robles has had a solid start to his season so far, slashing .292/.388/.360 a team-best 113 wRC+ and 0.6 fWAR in 31 games. Old friend Dominic Smith, meanwhile, is fourth on the club with his 92 wRC+ while posting a .270/.361/.310 slash line in 34 games. Joey Menesis, who burst onto the scene last year as a 30-year-old rookie, has not enjoyed the same success this year, hitting .288/.314/.373 with two homers, an 87 wRC+, and a -0.3 fWAR in a team-high 36 games.
Friday, May 12: TBD vs. Mackenzie Gore, 7:05 p.m. on WPIX
The Mets have not yet announced a starting pitcher for tonight’s game against the Nationals (no, really).
Gore (2023): 37.0 IP, 48 K, 19 BB, 4 HR, 3.65 ERA, 3.66 FIP, 1.43 WHIP, 1.0 bWAR
You can see why the Nationals made Gore one of the centerpieces of the Juan Soto trade, as he’s had a solid start to the year for Washington, with a 3.65 ERA and a 3.66 FIP in seven starts. His potential was on full display against the Mets back on April 26, when he whiffed a season-high ten while allowing one earned run on four hits over six innings to earn the win. His next start wasn’t as good, as he allowed four earned runs on seven hits against the Cubs, but he bounced back with a Quality Start, allowing two earned runs on eight hits, with nine strikeouts and one walk against the Diamondbacks.
Saturday, May 13: TBD vs. Trevor Williams, 4:05 p.m. on SNY
The Mets have also not yet announced a starting pitcher for Saturday night’s contest against the Nationals.
Williams (2023): 36.0 IP, 26 K, 9 BB, 6 HR, 4.25 ERA, 4.87 FIP, 1.33 WHIP, 0.6 bWAR
Old friend Williams has bounced back nicely after allowing four earned runs on a season-high nine hits over five innings against the Mets on April 27. He followed that up with 5 1⁄3 shutout innings against the Cubs, but he turned in a worse outing in his last start, giving up five earned runs on seven hits, with five strikeouts and two walks over 4 1⁄3 against Arizona. Still, he’s found a nice home in Washington and has given them a solid back-of-the-rotation arm.
Sunday, May 14: TBD vs. Jake Irvin, 1:35 p.m. on SNY
Hm, I sense a pattern forming here.
Irvin (2023): 10.2 IP, 8 K, 7 BB, 1 HR, 0.84 ERA, 4.06 FIP, 1.22 WHIP, 0.7 bWAR
Irvin has gotten off to a sensational start to his big league career. The former fourth round pick has made two starts so far and has exhibited plenty of promise in both. In his big league debut, he held Chicago to one earned run on two hits over 4 1⁄3 innings, though he walked four against three strikeouts. His last time out against the Giants, he picked up his first major league win, tossing 6 1⁄3 shutout innings while scattering four hits, walking three, and striking out five.
Monday, May 15: TBD vs. Patrick Corbin, 4:05 p.m. on SNY
Yup, officially the Mets have not announced a starting pitcher for any of these games against the Nationals. This is due in part to the uncertainty of when/if Max Scherzer will start this weekend. It’s likely the first two games will be some combination of Tylor Megill and Joey Lucchesi, with hopefully Scherzer and maybe a rehabbed Carlos Carrasco in the next two games. Honestly, though, who even knows at this point.
Corbin (2023): 44.1 IP, 30 K, 9 BB, 7 HR, 4.87 ERA, 4.62 FIP, 1.42 WHIP, -0.1 bWAR
Corbin remains the anchor weighing this Washington team down. The veteran left-hander continues to struggle though, to be fair to him, he is coming off two strong starts in a row, despite not having anything to show for it. In his last appearance, he went six innings and allowed three runs (two earned) on eight hits, with three strikeouts and no walks in the loss to the Giants. Before that, he went seven innings, giving up two earned runs on three hits, with six strikeouts and no walks in a no decision against the Cubs. Historically, the Mets have loved facing Corbin, as the lefty has posted a 4.47 ERA in 139 innings against New York.
Prediction: The Mets settle for a split with the Nationals, which keeps them out of last place in the NL East.
How will the Mets fare in their four game series against the Nationals?
This poll is closed
The Mets pick up a resounding sweep in our nation’s capital!
The Mets take three out of four from the Nationals.
The Mets pick up a split with Washington.
The Mets steal one, but drop three to lose yet another series.
The Mets suffer an embarrassing sweep, which drops them into last place.