Washington Nationals Series Preview: Nationals at Mets (4/30-5/3)

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Apr 25, 2015; Miami, FL, USA; Washington Nationals starting pitcher Stephen Strasburg (37) delivers a pitch during the fifth inning against the Miami Marlins at Marlins Park. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Stephen Strasburg (1-2, 4.88 ERA) vs. Jacob deGrom (2-2, 2.96) – 7:10 PM ET, MASN

 Both of these pitchers are coming into this game off of rough outings in their last start. First, let’s start with Strasburg.

After an excellent start against the Phillies, Strasburg struggled against the Miami Marlins, especially with his fastball. He gave up four earned runs on eight hits in six innings, struck out six batters, and walked two. In my reaction I posted last Sunday, I made the case that Strasburg needs to use the changeup more if he wants to have better success against hitters.

While Strasburg is 3-1 with a 1.97 ERA in five career starts at Citi Field, the Mets got to him in his first start against them this season on April 9. In that game, Strasburg gave up six runs (three earned) on nine hits. He struck out five batters and walked three. The big damage in that game came in the third inning when New York put up four runs, all via RBI singles. One of the hitters that has had success against Strasburg is left field Michael Cuddyer, who is 4-for-12 against him, with a RBI.

As for Jacob deGrom, he came into his last start with the Yankees having a 18.1 inning scoreless streak. That streak would quickly end on a two-run homer by Mark Teixiera. Teixiera hit two home runs off deGrom in the Mets ‘6-1 loss, a game in which the defending NL Rookie of the Year went five innings and gave up six runs on eight hits.

While deGrom has never beaten the Nationals in his short career, he was very good in his first outing of 2015 against them on April 8. He gave up a Ryan Zimmerman two-run homer in the first, which cost him the game, but he was great otherwise. In six innings, he gave up two earned runs on six hits, struck out six, and walked two.

Keep an eye on Ian Desmond in this game as the Nats shortstop is the only other player besides Zimmerman who has a home run against deGrom. In his career, Desmond is a .263 career hitter at Citi Field with nine home runs and 27 RBI’s.

Advantage: I am going to go with deGrom in this one. He had a rough outing against the Yankees, but this is a pitcher that you don’t expect to have back-to-back clunkers. As for Strasburg, he needs to bring that changeup to New York and get ahead of hitters move to have a chance in this game. It’s a close one, but I like the Mets to win this one, despite the Nats recent offensive surge.

Next: Friday's Matchup