Washington Nationals Series Preview: Nats vs. Mets (7/20-7/22)

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Jul 17, 2015; St. Louis, MO, USA; New York Mets right fielder Curtis Granderson (3) is congratulated by teammates as he enters the dugout after hitting a solo home run during the first inning of a baseball game against the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Scott Kane-USA TODAY Sports

After losing two out of three games to the Los Angeles Dodgers over the weekend, the Washington Nationals (49-41) get set for arguably their biggest series of the season to date. Tonight, the New York Mets (48-44) enter Nats Park just two games back in the NL East and they will be sending their three top pitchers to the mound in this series (Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom, and Noah Syndergaard). This season, the Nats are 4-3 against the Mets, but two of those losses are with Max Scherzer on the mound.

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When you look at both of these teams, the problem for them is on offense. Both of these teams are in the bottom five in the National League in runs scored for the month. The Mets have scored 41 runs while the Nats have 37.

As for Terry Collins’ team, they did get a big win yesterday against the St. Louis Cardinals, 3-1, in 18 innings to avoid the sweep. However, they left 25 men on base and went 1-for-26 with runners in scoring position. As a team, the Mets have scored the fewest runs in the NL this season (317).

First baseman Lucas Duda leads the team in RBI’s with 38, but he is 6-for-47 at the plate this month. Their best hitters this month, in terms of players who have played ten or more games are second baseman Wilmer Flores and shortstop Ruben Tejada, who are both hitting over .300. The question though is whether or not Michael Cuddyer will be playing in this series. The Mets’ left fielder left the game Sunday with a knee injury. If he goes on the disabled list, the Mets could call up one of their prospects, double-A outfielder Michael Conforto.

When you talk about the Mets, the conversation starts with the starting rotation. Their starters’ ERA is at 3.44, which is fifth in the NL, but they are tied with the Nats in terms of wins by the rotation (37 – tied for fourth in NL). All of their starters have been solid, but without Steven Matz (torn lat muscle), Jon Niese has stepped up and pitched to a 1.21 ERA in three starts in July.

In the bullpen, closer Jeurys Familia blew the save in the 13th inning yesterday, but he has still been one of the more effective closers in the NL. Familia has a 1.42 ERA and has saved 27 of 30 games this season. One player that has stepped up in the bullpen is Bobby Parnell, who has a 0.79 ERA in 12 appearances. Now with Jenrry Mejia, who is back after his 80-game PED suspension, New York’s 2.71 bullpen ERA is third in the National League.

With that being said, let’s take a look at who has the edge in the three pitching matchups:

Next: Tonight's Matchup