Game time: 1:05 p.m. ET
Venue: Nationals Park, Washington, DC
Where to watch: SNY, MASN 2
Opening Odds at USA Sportsbooks
DraftKings: Mets -135, Nationals +115
Season record (entering Friday)
Mets: 66-67 (3rd place, NL East)
Nationals: 55-77 (4th place, NL East)
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Mets - Nationals preview and analysis
Mets: 5-5 in last 10
Nationals: 2-8 in last 10
Good on the New York Mets for reeling off four straight wins and making things interesting in the National League East again.
Can that luck travel on the road? The Mets will find out Friday when opening a five-game series against the Washington Nationals in DC.
But Saturday is where the Mets can really make some noise with the first half of a doubleheader in the afternoon matinee. Impromptu ace Marcus Stroman takes the mound for first pitch against former UNLV pitcher Erick Fedde in a matchup of right-handers.
A strong weekend can get the Mets right back into the thick of things.
Someone in the Mets’ pitching rotation has needed to step up in the absence of Jacob deGrom, and Stroman has been that starter. He may be 9-12 but in classic Mets fashion, his 2.85 ERA and 1.13 WHIP has proven him to be one of the most efficient pitchers in the league this season.
The Mets are 4-4 in Stroman’s last eight starts, and Stroman has a 3-4 record on his decision ledger, but his ERA is at an even 3.00 and he’s held lineups to a .234 average since July 21. If you were to take that into overall season context, Stroman is putting teams in the bottom five of batting averages this season.
This seems like the perfect spot for Stroman to keep this run of winning going for his Mets, who are now five games back of the Atlanta Braves for first place in the National League East entering Friday, and five games back of the Cincinnati Reds for the second wild-card spot.
Seeing as how these teams saw each other less than two weeks ago, the Mets have to come in feeling good after taking two of three at Citi Field. Meanwhile, the Nats are having to deal with the effects of blowing a six-run lead against the Philadelphia Phillies on Thursday. Entering Friday, the Nationals have been outscored 40-23 during their five-game losing streak.
The Mets should come away with a series victory this weekend, and it will be heightened by the play of Stroman. You think of everyone involved with the Mets right now, Stroman has to be the team’s MVP for even keeping the Mets relevant into September. Much like he has the past couple of months, Stroman will lead the Mets to victory.
The Mets are 6-6 (-1.1 net games) in Stroman’s starts this season. Overall, as a favorite, New York is 43-32 (-5.8 net games on the moneyline).
The Nationals are 13-33 (-17 net games) as an underdog of +100 to +150.
Players to watch
Mets: We all know Javier Baez isn’t here to hit for contact lately, but his presence has been felt since returning to New York’s lineup. The Mets are 5-4, and while Baez is only hitting .235, he has two homers and four RBI in that run. If he connects while slugging, that’ll be one way to get the New York offense going.
Nationals: All the talk of Juan Soto having a great season, Josh Bell has been flying under the radar with great stats, just because he plays for Washington. He’s batting .339 with 13 RBI in his last 15 games.
Jonathan Villar (S) 3B
Brandon Nimmo (L) CF
Francisco Lindor (S) SS
Pete Alonso (R) 1B
Michael Conforto (L) RF
Javier Baez (R) 2B
Jeff McNeil (L) LF
Patrick Mazeika (L) C
Marcus Stroman (R) P
Lane Thomas (R) CF
Alcides Escobar (R) SS
Juan Soto (L) RF
Josh Bell (S) 1B
Yadiel Hernandez (L) LF
Keibert Ruiz (S) C
Carter Kieboom (R) 3B
Luis Garcia (L) 2B
Erick Fedde (R) P
Batting average: Pete Alonso (.259)
Hits: Pete Alonso (117)
Home runs: Pete Alonso (29)
RBI: Pete Alonso (76)
Stolen bases: Francisco Lindor & Jonathan Villar (10)
Wins: Marcus Stroman (9)
Saves: Edwin Diaz (28)
ERA: Marcus Stroman (2.85)
Batting average: Juan Soto (.302)
Hits: Juan Soto (122)
Home runs: Josh Bell & Juan Soto (23)
RBI: Juan Soto (75)
Stolen bases: Victor Robles & Juan Soto (8)
Wins: Patrick Corbin (7)
Saves: Kyle Finnegan (6)
ERA: Patrick Corbin (6.26)
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