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Series Preview: Washington Nationals vs New York Mets + Nats' lineup...

Washington's Nationals and New York's Mets start a three-game set in Citi Field tonight with Max Scherzer on the mound against Noah Syndergaard in the series opener. It's about to get serious. Okay, it was already serious...

Rich Schultz/Getty Images

After a long fight during the 2015 season, the Washington Nationals and the New York Mets have avoided each other as if they were two teenagers trying to stay away from one another in the halls after a nasty argument.

The two will finally have to stop avoiding each other, as they meet for the first time this season tonight, kicking off a three-game series at Citi Field.

The Nationals will try to figure out Noah Syndergaard to kick off the series.

Syndergaard is coming off of an historic game, albeit not from a pitching standpoint, although his eight innings with two runs were impressive. The Mets' righty managed to top Bartolo Colon in his last start in another way - in the home run totals.

On Thursday, Matt Harvey will throw for the Mets while attempting to get back on track for the Metropolitans.

Harvey, who dominated for nearly all of the 2015 season, has struggled thus far; Harvey has pitched to a 3-5 record with a 4.93 ERA.

For the Nationals, Max Scherzer will face off against Syndergaard on Tuesday night, and somehow, will try to top his twenty strikeouts against the Detroit Tigers.

"It won't sink in right now, but it's an amazing accomplishment," said Max Scherzer in his postgame presser.

"Just felt like I got in sync with [Ramos] tonight, really focused on a couple things."

If Scherzer does top his previous performance, it won't be as much of a surprise, as Scherzer no-hit the New York Mets in his final start of the season last year.

In his career, Scherzer is 3-2 with a 2.23 ERA over 48.1 innings against New York.

Meanwhile, Gio Gonzalez will pitch on Wednesday night. His last start came on May 13th against the Marlins, when he pitched five innings and surrendered only two runs.

Gio Gonzalez spoke with the media at his locker after the start.

"What I took out of today's game is just keeping the guys close," said Gonzalez. "I could have let that get out of control."

The Nationals will see another old foe for the first time this season in Yoenis Cespedes.

After an attempt to sign Cespedes, the outfielder went back to the Mets after hammering the Nats all summer long in 2015.

"I was never close to signing with the Nationals," Cespedes said, as quoted by the New York Post. "From the start I was pushing my agent, because I wanted to come back to the Mets."

An internal team source from the Nationals confirmed to the New York Post that he never thought Cespedes would sign with the Nationals, who he's hit .300 against, with seventeen RBI.

For the Mets, their fans and the team will see an old friend turned foe in Daniel Murphy, whose performance may be making Mets officials seriously reconsider their decision to not lock up the second baseman.

"The people in New York - some will jeer him, but I think most will cheer him. Because if the Mets wanted to keep him then they had plenty of chances to try to keep him" Dusty Baker said.

"It wasn't as if Murph 'left', it was kind of Murph wasn't invited to stay."

As for the rest of the Nationals' offense, their sluggish performance during the series versus Miami warranted some questions, including those regarding struggling leadoff hitter Ben Revere.

"We've got to stick with Ben, and Ben has hit some balls probably on the nose as much as anybody in our lineup. We're frustrated, but he's more frustrated," said Dusty Baker.

"Hopefully, he can be a Met killer like he's been the rest of his career."

Revere is hitting .093 with six strikeouts this season.

"I feel like Charles Barkley and all those guys from 'Space Jam' with all their power taken from them," Revere said, as quoted by James Wagner of the Washington Post.

"It's just one of those deals where you've gotta keep battling until you finally figure it out. It's part of the game. Just keep your head high. It's frustrating and all, but you gotta keep battling."

The Mets and the Nationals meet at a point in the season where the two teams have matched each other.

Both teams have been hot for parts of the season, both have struggled through some weeks.

Now, only a game and a half separates the Nationals from New York in the standings.

The series, which puts high power pitching on showcase, should be low-scoring, well-contested, and close, to a point where either team would not be disappointed to walk away only having won a single game in the three-game set.

"It's a big series. Something is going to shake in the next week. We knew this was going to be a tough time of the schedule - from the beginning," said Dusty Baker.

"We just got to play better, we just got to execute better, whether it's bunting or picking up the runners or advancing runners from second with nobody out, these are all the little things that constitute going into winning."

What to watch for in Flushing

The good type of Strasburg shutdown
Strasburg, who will pitch on Thursday, is 4-1 with a 2.17 ERA at Citi FIeld.

Nobody knows who's pitching for the Mets on Wednesday
Although Steven Matz, who just got a clean bill of health, has his scheduled turn on Wednesday, the starter is still listed as TBD.

Oliver Perez will get... quite an ovation at Citi Field
Perez may get booed more than Murphy, due to his infamous three-year, $36 million deal.

Here's the Nationals' lineup for the series opener in Citi Field: