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New York Mets vs. Washington Nationals Series Preview: Cy Young contenders take center stage

Max Scherzer and Jacob deGrom won’t be facing each other in this series, but their respective teams each have the chance to help — or hurt — their ace’s Cy Young candidacy.

MLB: New York Mets at Chicago Cubs Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports

Mets (70-82) vs. Nationals (77-75) series info:

Game 1: Thursday, Sept. 20 at 7:05 p.m. ET (MASN/106.7 The Fan)

Game 2: Friday, Sept. 21 at 7:05 p.m. ET (MASN2/106.7)

Game 3: Saturday, Sept. 22 at 4:05 p.m. ET (MASN2/ESPN+/106.7)

Game 4: Sunday, Sept. 23 at 1:35 p.m. ET (MASN2/106.7)

Pitching matchups:

Thursday: Jason Vargas (6-9, 6.47 ERA) vs. Max Scherzer (17-7, 2.53)

Friday: Jacob deGrom (8-9, 1.78) vs. Joe Ross (2 ER, 5 IP)

Saturday: Corey Oswalt (3-2, 6.31) vs. Tanner Roark (9-15, 4.34)

Sunday: Steven Matz (5-11, 4.03) vs. Erick Fedde (2-3, 5.02)

What to watch for:

Harper’s “farewell” tour begins

After playing 917 games across seven seasons in Washington, Bryce Harper will embark on what could be his final homestand with the Nationals this weekend. Fans will have one last chance to see him play in person donning the Curly W before he hits free agency this offseason.

Give him a proper sendoff, D.C. faithful. The man deserves it.

Scherzer, deGrom take the hill

With a little over a week left on the MLB schedule, Max Scherzer currently holds the edge over Jacob deGrom in wins (17), WHIP (0.915), strikeouts (277), innings (206.2) and complete games (2). Meanwhile, deGrom has the advantage in ERA (1.78), FIP (2.05), bWAR (9.1), fWAR (8.0), and HR/9 (0.45).

If the Nationals and Mets each pitch their aces on four days’ rest to close out the season, Scherzer will have three more starts and deGrom will have two. This means that the 20-win and 300-strikeout plateaus are within reach for Scherzer. If he reaches those marks, is the NL Cy Young award his?

Wheeler shut down for the season

Originally slated to start Saturday, Zack Wheeler won’t be throwing another pitch this season after being shut down by the Mets’ coaching staff for precautionary reasons. Wheeler, who underwent Tommy John surgery in March 2015, tossed 182.1 innings this season after throwing just 86.1 over the previous three years combined.

The decision comes as a break for the Nats, as Wheeler had been on a tear. Dating back to July 24, the Mets’ right-hander accumulated a 1.68 ERA and 73 strikeouts across 75 innings (11 starts). Rookie Corey Oswalt will be starting in his place.

Series history:

The Nationals lead the all-time series (2005-present) by a margin of 137-118. In the District, however, the Mets have their number, boasting a .537 winning percentage on the road. This four-game set will decide who wins the season series, as New York currently leads just 8-7.