Thursday evening on the MLB diamond and a pair of struggling teams from the National League East will duke it out as the Washington Nationals take on the New York Mets at Citi Field in New York in game one of a four-game series. The Mets have taken four of the six games between these teams this year. Pitching Probables: Max Scherzer (10-5, 2.16 ERA) will get the nod for the Nats and he will be opposed by Steven Matz (4-5, 3.46 ERA).
Nats Get Blanked In Finale Against the Pirates
The Washington Nationals have been struggling of late and their offense has been less than stellar. Well, that continued on Wednesday afternoon where they are blanked by the Pirates by a score of 2-0. It was the 8th time in their last 29 games that they have been blanked. The Nats really need to find a trade at the deadline that will bring them some offense or they could really start to fade in the national league East. Right now, they are 6.0 games out of first in the division. Gio Gonzalez had a solid start as he allowed just two ERs on six hits and a walk while striking out four in 6.0 innings of work, but he was saddled with the loss thanks to their inept offense. He is now 6-5 with a 3.76 ERA on the year and hasn’t had a win in each of his last eight starts. Washington has averaged 4.33 rpg and has allowed 3.80 rpg on the road so far.
Taking the hill for the Nationals will be Max Scherzer and he has gone 11-5 with a 2.33 ERA and a 0.89 WHIP in 19 starts on the year, including 6-3 with a 2.05 ERA and a 0.98 WHIP in nine starts on the road. In his career, he has gone 76-43 with a 3.20 ERA in 168 games (163 starts) on the road and 24-13 with a 2.86 ERA in 48 starts during the month of July, while against the Mets he has gone 8-4 with a 2.23 ERA in 15 games (14 starts), including 6-2 with a 1.76 ERA in nine starts here at Citi Field.
Washington has been below average on offense so far this year as they come in ranked 17th in the league in scoring, putting up 4.40 rpg, while also ranking 18th in hitting at .244 and 14th in homers with 107. On the mound, they have been very good as they come in ranked 12th in the league in ERA at 3.87, while also ranking 8th in WHIP at 1.22 and 6th in K’s with 828. The pen for Washington ranks 13th in the league in ERA at 3.78.
Gagnon Struggles In Major League Debut
The New York Mets continue to struggle and because of the injuries they have had, they have been forced to use some pitchers that they weren’t expecting to. On Tuesday night, it was Drew Gagnon that got the start, which was his first career appearance at this level. It was not a good one as the Phillies tagged him for six ERs on seven hits and a walk while striking out just three in 4.2 innings of work. Amed Rosario led the attack with two triples, an RBI and two runs scored. The Phillies took the game by a score of 7-3 and it was their 52nd loss in their last 77 games. The wheels have completely fallen off for this team after their 11-1 start to the year and that will make them sellers at the trade deadline. It will be interesting to see if they trade away Noah Syndergaard or even Jacob deGrom. If the price is right, then one of them could be playing for another team the rest of the year. The Mets have averaged 3.04 rpg and have allowed 4.22 rpg here at home for the year so far.
Steven Matz will take the mound for the Mets and he has gone 4-6 with a 3.31 ERA and a 1.23 WHIP in 17 starts on the year, including 1-4 with a 4.17 ERA and a 1.15 WHIP in nine starts here at home. In his career, he has gone 7-12 with a 4.28 ERA in 28 starts here at home and 3-8 with a 4.30 ERA in 13 starts during the month of July, while against the Nationals he has gone 1-2 with a 2.37 ERA in six starts.
The Mets have been poor on offense so far as they come in ranked 26th in the league in scoring, putting up 3.87 rpg, while also ranking 29th in hitting at .228 and 22nd in homers with 92. On the mound, they have been below average in the early going as they enter this contest ranked 20th in the league in ERA at 4.33, while also ranking 18th in WHIP at 1.33 and 9th in K’s with 805. The pen for the Mets ranks 26th in the league with a 4.71 ERA.
- 8-2 in Scherzer’s last 10 starts with four days of rest
- 38-13 in Scherzer’s last 51 starts vs. the National League East
New York is:
- 9-24 in their last 33 home games vs. a team with a winning road record
- 2-9 in Matz’s last 11 home starts vs. a team with a winning record
The Washington Nationals are a mess right now, but they have a shot at getting back on track in this series against the Mets who have really been horrible for most of the year. The Nats have their ace on the mound in Max Scherzer and that gives them a huge edge in this game. He is 10-5 with a 2.16 ERA and has gone 6-2 with a 1.76 ERA in his career here at Citi Field. Steven Matz has gone just 1-4 with a 4.17 ERA here at home for the year and he is 308 with a 4.30 ERA in his career during the month of July. Washington needs this game in the worst way and they will get the job, especially since we note that the Mets are 9-26 in their last 35 games here at home.
Pick: Washington -1.5
Washington really needs to get their act together, while the Mets are already planning for next year. The Nats have been hit or miss on offense of late and this one could be a miss for them especially since they have hit just .218 against lefties on the road and Steven Matz does have a 2.37 ERA in six career starts against them. The Mets have averaged just 3.04 rpg here at home for the Year and I do not look for their offense to have a good showing in this one against Max Scherzer, who has a 1.76 ERA in his career in this park. I like the Under, especially since the Under is 46-18-6 in Washington’s last 70 road games and 17-8 in New York’s last 25 home games.