clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Washington Nationals vs. New York Mets Series Preview: Remember when this matchup used to be exciting?

The Washington Nationals and New York Mets are both struggling to stay afloat amid slews of injuries. Three years ago, they were the class of the NL East.

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

Nationals (46-46) vs. Mets (37-53) series info:

Game 1: Thursday, July 12 at 7:10 p.m. EDT (MASN/106.7 The Fan)

Game 2: Friday, July 13 at 7:10 p.m. EDT (MASN/106.7)

Game 3: Saturday, July 14 at 4:10 p.m. EDT (MASN/106.7)

Game 4: Sunday, July 15 at 1:10 p.m. EDT (MASN/106.7)

Pitching matchups:

Thursday: Max Scherzer (11-5, 2.33) vs. Steven Matz (4-6, 3.31)

Friday: Tanner Roark (3-11, 4.76) vs. Noah Syndergaard (4-1, 3.06)

Saturday: TBA (Austin Voth?) vs. Zack Wheeler (2-6, 4.42)

Sunday: Jeremy Hellickson (3-1, 3.47) vs. Corey Oswalt (0-2, 6.75)

What to watch for:

Herrera holds down closer role

The Nats were dealt yet another injury blow when closer Sean Doolittle was placed on the disabled list Tuesday with a pinched nerve in his toe. While the team hopes to get Doolittle back shortly after the All-Star Break, Davey Martinez has named Kelvin Herrera as Washington’s ninth-inning man until then.

Herrera has turned in a few uncharacteristic outings since joining the Nationals. He’s striking out hitters at a higher rate than he was in Kansas City but has posted a 1.39 WHIP — which would be the worst of his career. Washington’s bullpen has been quietly dominant over the past two months but Herrera will still need to be leaned on in high-leverage situations while Doolittle is out.

Gold Glove defense on left side of the infield

Not many things have gone right for the Nats this season, but their shortstop and third baseman are flashing some serious leather. Both Trea Turner (7.3) and Anthony Rendon (6.0) lead their respective positions in Defensive Runs Above Average among NL players.

Only two Nationals have been honored with Gold Gloves since the team moved to D.C. in 2005: Ryan Zimmerman at third in 2009 and Adam LaRoche at first in 2012. Even if Turner or Rendon keep up their stellar play, they’ll still have to beat out some big names. The RockiesNolan Arenado has taken NL honors at the hot corner each of the past five years and the GiantsBrandon Crawford has done so at short for three straight seasons.

Matz’s Steady Improvement

Following an abysmal 2017 season that saw him put up a 6.08 ERA with just 48 strikeouts in 13 starts, Steven Matz has righted the ship so far this year. The 27-year-old lefty hasn’t raised his pedigree to that of Jacob deGrom or Noah Syndergaard, but he’s carving out a reliable spot for himself in a rotation that’s been a revolving door the last few seasons.

At 89.2 innings, Matz is on pace to shatter his previous career high of 132.1 he set back in 2016. Although he may never be the ace some thought he was after posting a 2.27 ERA across six starts in 2015, Matz is no easy matchup for opposing hitters.

Series history:

The Nationals lead the all-time series (2005-present) 132-114, including a mark of 77-48 at Citi Field. New York has taken four of the six games played between these two clubs this season.