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Washington Nationals vs New York Mets Series Preview: Closest NL East foe hosts Nats

The Washington Nationals head to Queens for a date with the New York Mets after dropping five of their last six games.

MLB: Chicago Cubs at New York Mets Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

Nationals (39-26) vs. Giants (30-34) Series Info:

Game 1: Thursday, June 15 at 7:10 p.m. EST (MASN/106.7 The Fan)

Game 2: Friday, June 16 at 7:10 p.m. EST (MASN/ESPN/106.7)

Game 3: Saturday, June 17 at 4:10 p.m. EST (MASN/106.7)

Game 4: Sunday, June 18 at 1:10 p.m. EST (MASN/106.7)

Pitching Matchups:

Thursday: Gio Gonzalez (5-1, 2.91 ERA) vs. Robert Gsellman (5-3, 4.95)

Friday: Max Scherzer (7-4, 2.36) vs. TBA

Saturday: Stephen Strasburg (7-2, 3.27) vs. TBA

Sunday: Joe Ross (3-2, 6.39) vs. Jacob deGrom (5-3, 4.33)

What to watch for:

Tired of the bullpen? Don’t blame Mike Rizzo

The Nationals swung and missed on several free agent relievers this offseason, but according to a report by Barry Svrluga of The Washington Post, general manager Mike Rizzo shouldn’t be held accountable.

Owner Ted Lerner and his family apparently blocked both a trade for Chicago White Sox closer David Robertson and free agent deal with now-Colorado Rockie Greg Holland.

Washington will certainly be in the mix for the best names available at the trade deadline, but they’ve probably missed their chance to secure a team-friendly deal.

Brian Goodwin making his case to stick around

With a home run in each of his last three starts, Brian Goodwin is finally showing the team that drafted him why he was deserving of that first-round selection.

Goodwin owns a .885 OPS in 25 games this season and has managed to keep the strikeouts to a minimum — he only has 15 on the year.

Michael Taylor has cooled off considerably since his initial hot streak following Adam Eaton’s injury, leaving the door open for Goodwin to force his way into the lineup if he continues to hit like he has.

Like clockwork: More Mets hit the Disabled List

Seemingly every time this team plays somebody is limping off the field before the final out is recorded.

Yesterday it was Neil Walker, who hurt his hamstring running out a bunt, and Matt Harvey, whose fastball velocity dropped all the way down to the mid-80s.

Asdrubal Cabrera hit the shelf earlier in the week as well, joining fellow stars Noah Syndergaard and Jeurys Familia.

Who to watch out for: Jay Bruce

MLB: Chicago Cubs at New York Mets Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

Remember when the Nats were rumored to be in on Jay Bruce at the trade deadline last season, only for him to fall into the hands of rival New York?

He may not have been very effective down the stretch then, but he’s been one of the most consistent hitters in the Mets’ lineup with a .266/.332/.539 line and a team-high 17 home runs.

Bruce and up-and-coming Nat killer Michael Conforto may not make as much money as Yoenis Cespedes, but they’re just as crucial to the team’s offensive success as the $110 million man.