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Washington Nationals vs New York Mets Series Preview: Top rotations go head-to-head

The Washington Nationals and New York Mets own two of the best rotations in baseball and meet for the first time this season in Queens.

MLB: New York Mets at Philadelphia Phillies Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Nationals (10-5) vs. Mets (8-8) Series Info:

Game 1: Friday, April 21 at 7:10 p.m. EST (MASN/106.7 The Fan)

Game 2: Saturday, April 22 at 4:05 p.m. EST (MASN/106.7)

Game 3: Sunday, April 23 at 8:00 p.m. EST (ESPN/106.7)

Pitching Matchups:

Tuesday: Tanner Roark (2-0, 3.50 ERA) vs. Jacob deGrom (0-0, 1.89)

Wednesday: Gio Gonzalez (1-0, 1.33) vs. Matt Harvey (2-0, 2.45)

Thursday: Max Scherzer (2-1, 1.37) vs. Zack Wheeler (1-1, 5.52)

What to watch for:

Feared rotations clash in New York

The Nationals and Mets each have their teams built around star-studded rotations, relying on former first-round picks to carry them back to the postseason.

Stephen Strasburg will miss the Mets this time around, but Tanner Roark and Max Scherzer were the two best pitchers to stay healthy on the team last year and Gio Gonzalez is off to a fast start.

Jacob deGrom and Matt Harvey could both benefit from putting their 2016 seasons behind them, and so far they appear to be doing just that.

Zack Wheeler will be tasked with facing Scherzer in the series finale on ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball as he looks to build off his last start in which he allowed one run over five innings against the Phillies.

Shawn Kelley takes the reigns as primary closer

After Blake Treinen lost the closer job just 14 games in, manager Dusty Baker named Shawn Kelley and Koda Glover the new ninth inning generals.

Kelley has a long history of injuries, so while he’s going to be the primary option moving forward, Glover will get the call if Kelley’s had too much work in the previous few games.

Baker threw Kelley out there for the ninth in two of the past three games, so look for Glover to get the nod if the game is close heading into the final frame.

Injuries plaguing the Mets early

The Mets come into this season with nearly an identical cast to last year’s squad, banking on a healthy version of the team making a run at the NL East crown.

So far, that same cast has been unable to stay on the field once again.

Yoenis Cespedes, Lucas Duda, Travis d’Arnaud and Wilmer Flores are all day-to-day with injuries they’ve sustained in the past week while Steven Matz and Seth Lugo sit on the Disabled List.

Cespedes and Duda have major roles in the offense, while the missing arms have a rotation that entered camp looking like one of the deepest in baseball already wearing thin.

Who to watch out for: Jay Bruce

MLB: Philadelphia Phillies at New York Mets Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

With Cespedes possibly sidelined, look for Jay Bruce to be relied on heavily for offensive production.

The former Cincinnati Red has been swinging the bat well out of the gate, hitting .309/.387/.673 with six home runs and 14 RBIs.

New York has lost five of their last six games, so this series with Washington, while early, has big implications on the division standings moving forward.