Mets Series Preview: Mets travel to DC for five games with Nationals

Alison Rombough

The Mets (66-67) will look for better results than the last time they visited our nation’s capital as they face off with the Nationals (55-77) for five games. The Mets dropped three out of four in DC in June, and then lost another standalone game later in the month. They have fared much better at Citi Field, where they have won seven times in nine tries against the Nationals.

The Mets are coming off a big series sweep against the Marlins. The two clubs resumed their suspended contest from April 11 after four months, 19 days, 23 hours, and 55 minutes. Taijuan Walker was called upon in relief of Marcus Stroman and struggled, allowing three earned runs on seven hits over 4.2 innings. The Mets got a run back in the bottom of the fifth on a Jonathan Villar homer, but Miami scored two in the sixth off Heath Hembree, which included a collision in right field involving Michael Conforto and Jeff McNeil that thankfully did not result in an injury. The 5-1 score held until the bottom of the ninth, when the Mets mounted a five-run rally to pull off an improbable 6-5 victory. Brandon Nimmo hit a two-run homer with one out, and then with two down and nobody on, the club scored three. Javier Báez, who was the subject of a lot of scorn thanks to his explanation of the club’s ‘thumbs down’ celebration, drove in the fourth run with an infield hit, and Conforto knocked in two with a single down the left field line, with Báez racing home to score from first.

While the win officially counted for the team’s April total, and didn’t officially extend their winning streak to three thanks to the wacky rules of the suspended game, the club did extend their winning streak to three with a Tuesday night victory over the Marlins. Trevor Williams was terrific, pitching 4.1 innings and allowing just one unearned run. Meanwhile, Conforto his a two-run bomb into the Coca Cola Corner, and McNeil drove in Báez with a double later in that inning. From there, Aaron Loup, Seth Lugo, and Edwin Díaz closed the door on Miami.

Following a rainout resulting from Ida’s wrath in the northeast, the two squads resumed their series on Thursday, with the Mets holding on for a 4-3 victory. Carlos Carrasco surrendered a home run to Miguel Rojas, and allowed another run to score on a Jesús Aguilar single, which brought Jazz Chisholm home. Jonathan Villar countered with his own first-pitch homer, making this the first game since pitches started getting tracked in 1988 that both clubs hit home runs on the first pitch. The Met went ahead in the fourth, as Francisco Lindor doubled home Nimmo, and then drew a balk to bring himself home. Miami tied it in the sixth, as Aaron Loup threw a bases loaded walk when trying to get out of Carrasco’s jam. Dominic Smith put the Mets ahead for good with a run-scoring single in the seventh, as the Met won despite three errors on the evening.

The Mets enter play tonight five games back of the Braves, and three behind the Phillies, in the National League East race with 29 games to play. In this stretch of 15 (now 14, thanks to the rainout) consecutive games against the Marlins and Nationals, they have started off with five wins in six tries. They will need to keep playing at that level if they want to have any hope of making a serious push for the playoffs. The Mets are also five back of the second Wild Card spot, which remains an option; however, for that, they would need to leapfrog the Phillies, the Cardinals, the Padres, and the Reds to make it, so focusing on the division is just the easier (and safer) bet. The Mets do finish the year with three in Atlanta, so if they can get within three games by the final weekend, they will still be alive.

The National were just swept by the Phillies at home after dropping two of three in New York. Overall, the Nationals have lost nine of their last 12 and 14 of their last 21 since August 1.

Friday, September 3: Rich Hill vs. Sean Nolin, 7:05 p.m. on SNY

Hill (2021): 127.0 IP, 115 K, 43 BB, 19 HR, 4.11 ERA, 4.62 FIP, 1.20 WHIP, 0.6 bWAR

Hill turned in one of his better outings as a Met his last time out against this same Nationals squad. He got into early trouble and allowed two runs in the third before settling down. He struck out eight batters, which was his most punch outs in an outing as a member of the Mets. He also didn’t issue a free pass for the third straight start, and he once again topped off at five innings in his outing. Due to his team’s ineptitude at the plate, he was saddled with a hard-luck loss as he continues to search for his first win as a member of the Mets.

Nolin (2021): 12.1 IP, 13 K, 3 BB, 4 HR, 6.57 ERA, 5.99 FIP, 1.87 WHIP, -0.2 bWAR

Nolin has made three starts for the Nationals—his first big league action since the 2015 season—two of which have come against the Mets. In his debut for the Nationals, he allowed four earned runs on eight hits over three innings to pick up the loss. In his most recent outing, he was much better, limiting New York to just two earned runs on six hits with a season-high six strikeouts over 5.1 innings. In between, he gave up three earned runs on six hits, with five strikeouts and three walks over four innings against the Brewers.

Saturday, September 4: Marcus Stroman vs. Erick Fedde, 1:05 p.m. on SNY

Stroman (2021): 151.2 IP, 134 K, 36 BB, 14 HR, 2.85 ERA, 3.40 FIP, 1.13 WHIP, 2.9 bWAR

Stroman got in trouble early in his last start against Washington, allowing two runs in the second before buckling down and holding them off the scoreboard for the rest of his outing and retiring 13 of the final 14 batters he faced. Overall, he pitched six innings of two-run ball, giving up six hits while striking out five and walking one. It was his eleventh straight start of at least five innings as he continues to be Mr. Dependable for the Mets. Since the All Star break, Stroman owns a 3.06 ERA, a 2.95 FIP, and a 1.13 WHIP in 53.0 innings.

Fedde (2021): 108.0 IP, 103 K, 43 BB, 15 HR, 5.08 ERA, 4.33 FIP, 1.43 WHIP, -0.5 bWAR

Fedde got whacked around by the Mets his last time out as he was tagged for six runs (five earned) on eight hits over 5.1 innings to take his ninth loss of the season. Fedde has now faced New York four times this year, and, in total, he has pitched 21.1 innings and allowed 11 runs (10 earned) on 20 hits with 19 strikeouts and eight walks. His best outing of 2021 came against the Mets, when he shut them out over seven innings back in June.

Saturday, September 4: Tylor Megill vs. TBD, 6:05 p.m. on SNY

Megill (2021): 64.2 IP, 70 K, 18 BB, 12 HR, 4.04 ERA, 4.33 FIP, 1.24 WHIP, 0.9 bWAR

After the worst start of his major league career against the Giants on August 24, Megill rebounded with a strong outing against the Nationals last Sunday. He held Washington hitless through three, and ended up only giving up one hit—a two-run homer off the bat of Josh Bell. In the end, he gave up the two earned runs while striking out five and walking three as he earned his second career win. The long ball continues to be his downfall, as his 1.67 HR/9 is the 12th worst among NL starting pitchers with at least 60 innings under their belt. In total, 23 of the 30 runs (~77%) he has allowed during his rookie campaign have come via the home run.


The Nationals have not yet named a starting pitcher for the second game of Saturday’s doubleheader.

Sunday, September 5: Taijuan Walker vs. Josiah Gray, 1:05 p.m. on SNY

Walker (2021): 134.1 IP, 123 K, 46 BB, 18 HR, 3.89 ERA, 4.18 FIP, 1.16 WHIP, 1.0 bWAR

Walker did something in his last outing that he had not done yet for the Mets: Come out of the bullpen. Technically, he was the first pitcher out in Tuesday’s game, but he was officially listed as a reliever as he picked up for Stroman to continue the April 11 suspended game. It was not one of his finer outings, as Walker was in and out of trouble all game and needed a lot of pitches to get through his appearance. In total, he was charged with three earned runs on seven hits over 4.2 innings. He did strike out six and didn’t walk a batter, but he needed 102 pitches to make it out, which is his third-highest pitch count this season.

Gray (2021): 40.0 IP, 46 K, 16 BB, 13 HR, 4.73 ERA, 6.36 FIP, 1.33 WHIP, 0.1 bWAR

Gray was originally drafted in the second round of the 2018 MLB Draft by the Reds before ending up on the Dodgers as part of the seven-player trade that sent Matt Kemp and Yasiel Puig, among others, to Cincinnati. He made his debut earlier this season for Los Angeles, allowing six earned runs on seven hits over eight innings across two appearances. He was then included in another mega-deal, heading over to Washington as part of the Max Scherzer/Trea Turner trade. He’s has gotten his chance to perform for the Nationals and has been much better, as he owns a 4.22 ERA, a 5.87 FIP, and a 1.28 WHIP in 30.0 innings over six starts. Home runs are his biggest issue, as he owns a 2.9 HR/9 at the big league level. He has allowed at least one dinger in every appearance he’s made in the majors. His last time out, he was tagged for a career-high six earned runs on seven hits over four innings against the Phillies.

Monday, September 6: Trevor Williams vs. Josh Corbin, 1:05 p.m. on SNY

Williams (2021): 71.2 IP, 70 K, 26 BB, 10 HR, 4.27 ERA, 4.23 FIP, 1.42 WHIP, 0.4 bWAR

Williams has given the Mets just about all they could have hoped for when they got him in the Báez trade. In four outings for the club, he has pitched to a 0.69 ERA, a 2.93 FIP, and a 0.92 WHIP in 13.0 innings. In his last outing against Miami in the second game of Tuesday’s kinda-sorta-doubleheader, he allowed just an unearned run on four hits, with four strikeouts and no walks in 4.1 innings. He ran into some trouble in the fifth, which precluded him from sticking around long enough to earn his first win as a Met. Monday will represent his first start in a nine-inning game for the Mets. So far, he has started two seven-inning games and made two relief outings, and has allowed just two runs (one earned) on eight hits in those appearances.

Corbin (2021): 141.0 IP, 114 K, 47 BB, 33 HR, 6.26 ERA, 5.65 FIP, 1.45 WHIP, -1.8 bWAR

Corbin has had a positively dreadful year as he’s hit the midway point of his six-year contract with the Nationals. The veteran has the most losses (14) in the National League and has surrendered the most home runs (33) and the most earned runs (98) among NL starting pitchers. His 2.11 HR/9, 6.26 ERA, and 5.65 FIP all rank as the worst among qualified NL starters, while his 3.00 BB/9 is fourth-worst. In short, not much has gone right for the left-hander this season. In his last outing against the Phillies, he allowed six earned runs on nine hits over five innings.

Prediction: The Mets drop three of five to the Nationals.


How will the Mets fare in their five game series against the Nationals?

This poll is closed

  • 21%

    Five games, five wins for the Mets in a sweep!

    (34 votes)

  • 46%

    The Mets win four of five to flip the script on their June results in DC.

    (72 votes)

  • 17%

    The Mets eke out a series win with three victories in five tries.

    (28 votes)

  • 3%

    The Mets drop three out of five in their series against the Nats.

    (6 votes)

  • 1%

    The Mets manage just one win over the course of the holiday weekend.

    (2 votes)

  • 0%

    The Mets endure a back-breaking sweep down in DC.

    (1 vote)

156 votes total

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