Aug 12, 2014, 6:00 AM EDT
After losing two of three in Atlanta – the final loss among their most frustrating this season – the Nationals now head north to New York for a three-game series against the Mets. Monday was an off-day, Tuesday is a chance to turn the page.
The Nationals this year have had little trouble against the Mets, owning a 7-2 record vs. New York with a +18 run differential. They met just last week when the Nats took two of three games capped off by a Bryce Harper walk-off home run in the 13th inning on Thursday.
Overall, however, the Mets have been playing some of their best baseball of 2014 in recent weeks. Going back to July 4, the Mets are 18-14 in their last 32 games. For comparison, the Nationals are 17-15 in that span.
The pitching matchups look to favor Washington, especially considering a recent development regarding rookie standout Jacob deGrom (6-5, 2.47). The 26-year-old was supposed to start the opener on Tuesday before tendinitis in his right rotator cuff sent him to the disabled list on Monday. Instead, Doug Fister (11-3, 2.49) will go up against 23-year-old Rafael Montero (0-2, 5.40).
The Nationals have never faced Montero, and he does have a 2.63 ERA in four career minor league seasons, but Fister should give them the advantage. The veteran pitched vs. New York his last time out and allowed only one unearned run through 7 1/3 innings.
The second game will pit Jordan Zimmermann (7-5, 3.06) against Bartolo Colon (11-9, 3.97). Zimmermann also saw the Mets in his previous start. He allowed three runs in 6 1/3 innings and earned the win. Colon has allowed five runs in 14 innings (3.21 ERA) against Washington this year.
The series finale will feature Stephen Strasburg (8-10, 3.68) against Dillon Gee (4-4, 3.54). That’s a rematch of 2014 Opening Day when both starters pitched into the seventh inning and allowed four earned runs in the process.
So far in this season series it has been Denard Span, Jayson Werth, Adam LaRoche and Ian Desmond leading the way for Washington. Span is batting .368 with 20 total bases in nine games. Werth is batting .389 vs. the Mets this season with two doubles and seven runs. LaRoche has three homers and nine RBI in just six games. Desmond is hitting just .250 against New York, but has four home runs and eight RBI.
Harper, conversely, has struggled overall against the Mets this year. He’s hitting only .192 with 12 strikeouts in six games. He does have seven homers and 20 RBI when playing New York during his career, however.
Daniel Murphy, David Wright and Juan Lagares have been the Mets’ standouts in this season series. Murphy is batting .448/.515/.552 with 16 total bases in seven games. Wright is hitting .297 with a homer and four RBI in nine games. Lagares is hitting .323 with two home runs and a seven RBI in nine games.
For the Mets it has been Curtis Granderson and Lucas Duda who have struggled. Granderson has hit .161 vs. Washington this year with a .413 OPS and seven strikeouts in eight games. Duda is hitting .214 and also has seven whiffs in eight games.
Since 2012 the Nationals are 33-13 in games against the Mets. With the Braves hosting the Dodgers early this week, the Nats have a very good chance to add to their four-game division lead.
ON THE RADIO
As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2014 schedule (subject to change)...
MON: 12:45 p.m.
TUE: 2:30 p.m.
WED: 4:30 p.m.
THU: 2:30 p.m.
FRI: 1:30 p.m., 5:30 p.m.
SAT: 10:30 a.m.
*All times Eastern. You can also listen to the station on 94.3 FM, 92.7 FM and online at ESPN980.com. Click here for past audio clips.
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