MLB Baseball: Washington Nationals vs. New York Mets Preview, Prediction & Odds -- Aug. 29, 2021

by Big Al Staff

Game time: 1:10 p.m. ET
Venue: Citi Field, Flushing, NY
Where to watch: MASN, WPIX

Opening Odds at USA Sportsbooks


DraftKings: Mets -180, Nationals +155
BetMGM: Mets -165, Nationals +135
FanDuel: NL

Season record (entering Saturday)
Nationals: 55-72 (4th place, NL East)
Mets: 61-67 (3rd place, NL East)

Jack Banks went 4-0 the last two nights and is 13-4 in his last 17 MLB plays. Jack is involved in one game on Saturday, his MLB Bank Job Game of the Month. Jack has nailed over 63 percent of his Game of the Month releases over the last 2 years. Check out Jack and other plays available right now at the Shop Picks page, where you can find all of the Best Bets from our champion sports handicappers.

Nationals - Mets preview and analysis


Recent form (entering Saturday)
Nationals: 5-5 in last 10
Mets: 2-8 in last 10, lost 4 straight

Friends, what do the New York Mets, do?

Seriously. What is there left to do? Is there a curse on Citi Field? Do we need to resurrect Shea Stadium from its former glory and right the wrongs of what has happened to this once-beloved franchise?

We’re running out of ideas, and losing to the Washington Nationals the way they did Friday night does not help matters. Alas, this three-game series will conclude Sunday and it will be another day to mark off the calendar for another ridiculous end to a ridiculous New York season.

We’ve talked a lot lately about how the Mets’ inconsistent desire of hitting the baseball has come back to haunt them. It happened again Friday when only one run crossed home plate on four hits; by way of a Javier Baez home run in the bottom of the fourth. What a way to keep your season alive.

The Mets got one hit from Baez, Francisco Lindor, sparingly-used catcher Tomas Nido, and pinch-hitter Jeff McNeil. No one else did anything. Michael Conforto, J.D. Davis and Dom Smith combined to strike out seven times out of 11 total on the night. Starting pitcher Rich Hill, who has not done much since coming over from the Tampa Bay Rays, did well enough to get the win (5 IP, 2 ER, 8 strikeouts), and the Mets still could not capitalize.

So when we ask if there’s literally anything the Mets can do, it’s an honest and thoughtful pondering. Because at this very moment, owner Steve Cohen might be pondering a call to the Long Island Medium and trying some voodoo magic to get things right again, because this ain’t it, chief.

Tylor Megill is expected to get the start Sunday in the series finale. The right-hander is 1-3 this season with a 4.07 ERA.

This seems like a perfect Gotham City reference, too. The Mets are Batman, while the Nationals are Bane. You know Gotham is going to be destroyed and Hines Ward is running for a touchdown with the stadium blowing up, but Bane is just sitting in the bowels laughing. 

And yet here are the Nationals, no real desire to do anything but laugh in the face of potential playoff teams, walking away and blowing things up. They did the same thing to the Toronto Blue Jays and have officially put the nail in the coffin of the Mets’ little, mighty push toward a Naitonal League East title.

The Nationals won on Friday night by way of a fielder’s choice from Juan Soto, and a single from Josh Bell. That is all the scoring that happened in this baseball game, and your fantasy baseball lineup is probably laughing at you for such production. Who needs offense when you’re just bad and still find ways to win?

Paolo Espino only had to pitch five innings, but the starter got seven strikeouts in the deal while the Nationals bullpen finished the job; Washington’s relievers combined for one hit and four strikeouts over the final four innings.

As of now, Game 2 is currently in progress, but Erick Fedde will take the mound for the Nationals on Sunday. The former first-round pick out of UNLV has won his last two starts while allowing only four runs in that stretch; he had a 10-strikeout game on Aug. 24 against the Miami Marlins.

Prediction


It just seems apropos to not pick the Mets for the rest of the year. Unless that line is really attractive, the Nationals should handle business in the finale. Nationals win 5-3.

Betting trends


The Nationals are 11-10 (+2.6 net games) when Fedde starts; they’re 6-8 in his starts when an underdog.

The under is 39-20 in games at Citi Field this season.

New York is 24-15 (+2.3 games on the money line) when favored between -125 and -175.

Players to watch


Nationals: Josh Bell entered Saturday on a four-game hitting streak, but also a three-game streak with at least one RBI.

Mets: Pour one out for Pete Alonso. He had his 11-game hitting streak end Friday, which included a stretch of four home runs. He’s literally the whole offense. It’s so sad.

Projected lineup


Nationals:
Lane Thomas (R) CF
Alcides Escobar (R) SS
Juan Soto (L) RF
Josh Bell (S) 1B
Yadiel Hernandez (L) LF
Carter Kieboom (R) 3B
Luis Garcia (L) 2B
Riley Adams (R) C
Erick Fedde (R) P

Mets:
Jonathan Villar (S) 3B
Brandon Nimmo (L) CF
Francisco Lindor (S) SS
Pete Alonso (R) 1B
Javier Baez (R) 2B
Jeff McNeil (L) LF
Kevin Pillar (R) RF
Patrick Mazeika (L) C
Tylor Megill (R) P

Statistical leaders


Nationals:
Batting average: Juan Soto (.297)
Hits: Juan Soto (115)
Home runs: Josh Bell & Juan Soto (21)
RBI: Josh Bell and Juan Soto (70)
Stolen bases: Victor Robles (8)
Wins: Patrick Corbin (7)
Saves: Brad Hand (21)
ERA: Patrick Corbin (6.09)

Mets:
Batting average: Pete Alonso (.260)
Hits: Pete Alonso (112)
Home runs: Pete Alonso (29)
RBI: Pete Alonso (75)
Stolen bases: Jonathan Villar (10)
Wins: Marcus Stroman (9)
Saves: Edwin Diaz (25)
ERA: Marcus Stroman (2.85)

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All photographic images used for editorial content have been licensed from the Associated Press.

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