Series Preview: Mets vs. Nationals

Amazin' Clubhouse previews an NL East showdown in Queens.

            Still rolling hot after another series win, the Mets (46-38) will close out the first half of the 2016 season with some more divisional play against the NL East-leading Washington Nationals (51-35). Beating the Marlins yesterday afternoon to take the series two games out of three, the Mets are now six for their last ten. The Nats, however, are one game better in their last ten games as they have been on fire as well. The Amazin’s sit four games off the lead making this series a crucial one heading into the All-Star break.

Thursday 7:10 PM: Bartolo Colon (7-4, 2.87 ERA) v Lucas Giolito(0-0, 0.00 ERA)

            Colon will hope to set the tone in the series as he takes the mound for Game 1. After a crushing loss to the Braves where he only allowed one earned run in seven innings, the 43-year-old was fazed as he earned a win in his last start against the Cubs. Colon faced the Nats twice back in May going 1-1.

            Giolito’s major league debut last Tuesday was bittersweet to say the least. Facing the Mets, he allowed one bloop single in four scoreless innings before the rain washed out any hope for a win. The 21-year-old will get a chance to pick up where he left off.

Pitching Edge: Colon went seven strong allowing one earned against the Nats last time around. He gets the edge in this one.

Friday 7:10PM: Noah Syndergaard (9-3, 2.41 ERA) v Stephen Strasburg (11-0, 2.71 ERA)

            It will be a battle of two All-Stars Friday in the most anticipated pitching matchup of the series. Syndergaard will take the mound for the Mets coming off a brilliant performance against the Cubs. He scattered seven hits for one earned runs in seven innings while striking out eight. He did, however, lose to the Nats last time these two teams saw each other as he was banged up for five runs.

            After missing a few starts in June due to a strained upper back, Strasburg came back against the Reds in grand fashion. He didn’t allow a hit through 6 2/3 innings while striking out five. He did show some lack of control as he issued four walks in that span which ended his night early. Strasburg is a clear Cy Young favorite with a clean slate on the loss column for the year, and he hopes to keep it that way Friday night.

Pitching Edge: It is tough to say because it is at Citi Field, but Strasburg has get the edge over “Thor” in this matchup beating the Mets twice already.

Saturday 7:15 PM: TBD v Max Scherzer (9-6, 3.21 ERA)

            With Matt Harvey on the DL, the Mets will have to decide who fill in for the righty against Scherzer. The flame throwing Scherzer has been money in his last two starts, allowing a single earned run in them. However, he did earn the loss against the Brewers in his last appearance as the Nats offense couldn’t eradicate that one run. The start before that, though, was against the Mets where he blanked them on the scoreboard in seven strong frames.

Pitching Edge: Scherzer gets the edge no matter who the Mets toss out there.

Sunday 1:10 PM: Steven Matz (7-4, 3.34 ERA) v Gio Gonzalez (4-8, 4.79 ERA)
            Matz earned his fourth loss on the year Tuesday as he fell to the Marlins. The lefty went seven innings, but the two earned he allowed was enough for the loss. The rookie is still looking for that first win since May 25. The good news is the team he beat on that date just so happened to be the Nats.

            Gonzalez has been shaky as many runs have come across in his starts. With an ERA almost at five now, it is hard to earn a victory. He lost in his last start to the Brewers as he allowed seven hits for three earned in six innings. Even worse was his last performance against the Mets where he was clobbered for seven runs on ten hits.

Pitching Edge: Matz gets the edge as he should be determined to dominate the Nats and get back on the winning side of things.

More About This Series:

Good news and bad news for the Mets entering this series. Alluding to the bad news before, Harvey was put on the disabled list yesterday as he is reported to have right shoulder discomfort. This is the third Mets starter to have medical issues with Matz and Syndergaard both having bone spurs in their pitching elbows because Harvey’s news broke. For fans thinking “The Dark Knight’s” absence isn’t a big deal because Zack Wheeler was supposed to return after the All-Star break, think again. Wheeler has had some setbacks and is now looking at a return near August according to reports.

Though things seem bleak heading into the break, fans should be excited about the All-Star game itself as three Mets made it onto the NL Roster. Syndergaard and closer Jeurys Familia will sit in the bullpen at Petco Park on July 12 while rooting for Yoenis Cespedes who will start in the outfield for the NL. Cespedes received the third-most fan votes for the NL outfielders behind the Cubs’ Dexter Fowler and the Nats’ Bryce Harper. 


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