Series Preview: Mets at Nationals

The New York Mets take on the Washington Nationals in D.C. in a battle for first place in the NL East.

The Mets (48-44) will head to the nation’s capital on a high note after an exciting 3-1 win in the 18th inning in St. Louis on Sunday. The three-game series with National League East rivals Washington Nationals (49-41) could be a difference-maker in the division’s standings.

Probable Pitchers:

Monday: Matt Harvey (8-6, 3.07 ERA) vs. Gio Gonzalez (6-4, 3.99 ERA)

After giving up two runs in the first inning of his last outing, Matt Harvey managed to follow it up with six innings of shutout baseball. The right-hander gave up five hits, four walks and nine strikeouts. Harvey’s thrown even better this season against the Nats giving up no runs with a 12:2 strikeout to walks ratio through 13 innings.

In his last three starts, veteran Gio Gonzalez has given up a combined two runs. He’s shown major improvement as the season has progressed bringing his ERA down each month. Gonzalez also has great numbers against the Mets in 2015 shutting out the Amazin and fanning nine in their last matchup.

Tuesday: Jacob deGrom (9-6, 2.14 ERA) vs. Tanner Roark (4-4, 4.43 ERA)

Jacob deGrom’s last start was before the All-Star break, but it’s safe to say, it was one of the best outings of his career. The right-hander threw eight scoreless giving up just two hits with an impressive strikeout to walks ratio of 10:1. Since April, opposing offenses have not been able to hit over .200 against him.

The Nats have been bringing Tanner Roark in and out of the bullpen, but this series, he’ll be the starter. His last start was against the Philadelphia Phillies on Jun. 28, but has been in the bullpen ever since. With an injured Stephen Strasburg, Roark could be fighting for a spot in the rotation, but he will have to start by proving his consistency, which he has seemed to struggle with of late.

Wednesday: Noah Syndergaard (4-5, 3.05 ERA) vs. Jordan Zimmerman (8-5, 3.27 ERA)

The young 22-year-old Noah Syndergaard has been pitching excellent baseball. He’s been providing the Mets a lot of depth averaging seven innings and about one run per game in his last four starts. Syndergaard is yet to face the Nats this season.

Veteran Jordan Zimmerman is on a five-game winning streak for the Nats. The streak includes two shutouts and two three-hitters. Zimmerman’s last outing was cut short due to two power outage delays that eventually suspended the game. The Mets are batting just .217 against the right-hander this season.

More About the Series:

The Mets are just two games behind the Nationals in the National League East.

Veteran Michael Cuddyer is headed to the disabled list after his left knee forced him to leave the game early on Sunday.

After Sunday’s 18-inning victory, the Mets demoted backup catcher Johnny Monell and brought up Anthony Recker. Catcher Kevin Plawecki caught all 18 innings in Sunday’s heat wave so it’s likely Recker will be calling the shots in the series opener in Washington.

Recker hit .293 with seven homers and 19 RBIs in 75 at-bats in the Pacific Coast League.

Even after playing two games in one, Mets manager Terry Collins said Alex Torres, Jeurys Familia, Bobby Parnell and Jenrry Mejia should all be available for Monday.

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