The Washington Nationals and New York Mets will continue a four-game series when they collide at Nationals Park on Saturday afternoon. Washington is still mathematically alive in the National League East race, but its basically non-existent hopes took another hit with a loss to the Mets on Thursday. Long since eliminated, New York was 2-4 in its last six contests heading into Friday.
Oswalt gets starting nod
The Mets beat Washington 5-4 in 12 innings on Thursday. Outfielder Michael Conforto hit his 27th homer to match his career-best total set last season. Conforto is batting a modest .240 in 2018, but he has three multi-hit performances in his last eight contests. First baseman Wilmer Flores will miss the rest of the 2018 campaign due to early-onset arthritis in both knees and will receive injections.
Right-hander Corey Oswalt (3-2, 6.31 ERA) is taking the mound for New York on Saturday. Oswalt is listed as a reliever, but his 16th appearance of the season will mark his 11th start. He has been a disaster of late, with a 6.35 ERA in August and an 11.12 ERA through three September outings. The 25-year-old has at least been serviceable since failing to record a single out while allowing five runs to the Dodgers on Sept. 4. Oswalt has surrendered two earned runs in his last 5.2 innings of work, including none in 2.2 innings at Boston last weekend.
Washington third baseman Anthony Rendon belted his 100th career homer and is a red-hot 11-for-21 with three homers and 11 RBIs over the past five games. First baseman Ryan Zimmerman is also feeling it at the plate, as his three-hit outing on Thursday made him 8-for-22 with four doubles over the past five contests. Left fielder Juan Soto, however, is mired in a 1-for-14 stretch.
Tanner Roark (9-15, 4.34 ERA) will oppose Oswalt on Saturday. The right-hander compiled a clean 2.78 ERA in August before his first two starts of this month were disastrous. Roark bounced back from allowing 11 runs in the span of 9.2 innings when he picked up a win over Atlanta last weekend, working 5.1 innings and surrendering two runs on five hits and two walks while striking out three batters during a 6-4 victory for Washington. He is sporting a decent 3.90 ERA in 30.0 innings against the Mets in 2018, with a 1-2 record to show for those efforts.
The Washington Nationals are:
- 9-4 in their last 13 games against the National League East
- 5-2 in their last seven games against right-handed starters
- 13-6 in their last 19 home games against teams with losing records
The New York Mets are:
- 4-9 in their last 13 road games against teams with losing home records
- 2-5 in Oswalt’s last seven starts against the National League East
- 7-2 Over in their last nine road games against Washington
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
Oswalt has mostly struggled this season, so Rendon and company should be able to stay mathematically alive with a win on Saturday. The Nationals are 8-3 in Roark’s last 11 starts and 5-2 in his last seven home starts against the Mets. Another decent performance from the righty will likely see the home team through to a victory.
Prediction: Washington Nationals
Full-Game Total Pick
Neither starter is lights out, while Rendon is cooking for Washington and Conforto is heating up–albeit way too late–for the Mets. The over is 15-5-1 in the Nationals’ last 21 at home, 4-1 in their last five against starters with WHIPs over 1.30, 5-2-1 in Roark’s last eight starts, and 7-2 in his last nine home starts. It is also 7-2 in New York’s last nine trips to Washington. Look for this one to go over the total.