It is now crunch time for the Mets (69-65) as they enter the last full month of regular season baseball. As usual, there will be a lot of head-to-head divisional matchups to finish off the year starting with the NL East-leading Washington Nationals (78-55) tonight. The Mets have been on a roll in their last ten games winning seven of them to creep back up to the top of Wild Card contention. The Nats, on the other hand, look like they can book their ticket to the postseason, but funnier things have happened in baseball.
Friday 7:10 PM: Noah Syndergaard (12-7, 2.55 ERA) v A.J. Cole (0-1, 4.97 ERA)
Syndergaard has been a key component to the Mets success as he has won his last three starts. His latest against the Phillies was a brilliant, seven-inning performance where he allowed one earned run on two hits while striking out seven. Syndergaard seems to be back to his normal dominance which is crucial at this point in the season.
Cole was called up from Triple-A at the end of August to fill in for Stephen Strasburg and it seems he will stay in his current role until the end of the season. Cole has been hit around giving up seven earned in 12 2/3 innings. He will make his third start of the year tonight.
Pitching Edge: Syndergaard gets an edge over Cole in this one.
Saturday 7:10 PM: Robert Gsellman (1-1, 3.72 ERA) v Tanner Roark(14-7, 2.87 ERA)
Gsellman jumped up the Mets’ ranks throughout the year eventually landing in the bigs a couple weeks ago. In his first relief appearance against the Cardinals, he earned a win pitching 3 2/3 innings without allowing a run. His first start last time out, though, wasn’t what he planned as he earned the loss against the Phillies.
Roark has been great for the Nats all season long as he produces quality innings every time out. He is 5-1 in his last seven starts and has gone at least five innings in each start.
Pitching Edge: Roark gets the edge with more time in the bigs than Gsellman
Sunday 7:10 PM: @Seth Lugo(2-2, 2.60 ERA) v Max Scherzer (15-7, 2.89 ERA)
Lugo has done well so far in his first taste of the big leagues. He is 2-1 in three starts since coming out of the bullpen. His last start he went six innings allowing two earned on five hits and one walk. Lugo seems to get better with each start and hopefully that trend continues.
He will have to face a tough opponent in the Nats’ ace Scherzer. He has been astonishing in his last three starts winning all of them while going eight innings in two. He last against the Phillies ended with two earned runs on three hits while striking out an impressive 11 batters.
Pitching Edge: Scherzer gets the edge in this one.
More About This Series:
Saying the Mets have a shot at the postseason a month ago may have been a long stretch, but the way this team is playing now it is certainly a reality. With one month left of games, mostly divisional, the Mets currently sit two games out of a Wild Card spot behind the Cardinals after a miraculous comeback that they hope never ends.
One issue, though, is that the Mets have lost another part of their team that will be crucial in this home stretch. Neil Walker announced that he will need back surgery and is out for the remainder of the year. Walker had been a key in the Mets offensive explosion, but now he is just another injury statistic on Terry Collins’ roster.