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

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Jul 14, 2015; Cincinnati, OH, USA; National League pitcher Jacob deGrom (48) of the New York Mets throws against the American League during the sixth inning of the 2015 MLB All Star Game at Great American Ball Park. Mandatory Credit: Frank Victores-USA TODAY Sports

Jacob deGrom (9-6, 2.14) vs. TBD – 7:05 PM ET, MASN2

With Harvey’s up and down season, you can make the case that deGrom has emerged as the Mets’ ace in their talented rotation. In his last ten starts, deGrom has given up a grand total of 11 earned runs. He made one of the big splashes on last Tuesday’s All-Star when he struck out the side on ten pitches in the top of the sixth.

Before the All-Star Break, deGrom went up against the San Francisco Giants and gave up no runs on two hits over eight innings. He struck out ten batters and walked one. Currently, the 27-year-old right-hander is fourth in the Naitonal League in ERA and third in WHIP. In three starts this month, he is 1-1 with a 2.03 ERA and has held opponents to a .188 batting average after they hit a miniscule .157 in five starts during the month of June.

deGrom pitched the second game of the season at Nats Park and made one mistake, which was a two-run homer to Ryan Zimmerman in the bottom of the first. He went six innings, gave up two runs on six hits, struck out six, and walked two in the loss on April 8. He is 0-2 against the Nats in three career starts with a 4.15 ERA. Wilson Ramos is 2-for-6 against deGrom with a double and two RBI’s.

While the Nationals have not officially named Tuesday’s starter, all signs point to Joe Ross getting the nod in this game because Tanner Roark pitched on Friday and then on Saturday because of the suspended game. In five starts since being sent down to triple-A Syracuse, Ross is 3-1 with a 2.19 ERA. While he has a low strikeout total (15), he has held opponents to a .174 batting average. In his last start on July 16 against Gwinnett (Atlanta Braves), he gave up two hits over five innings and struck out three.

Of course, everyone remembers how the 22-year-old right-hander was able to have success at the Major League level. In three starts with the Nats, he went 2-1 with a 2.66 ERA. In his last MLB start on June 19 vs. the Pirates, he went 7.1 innings, gave up one run on six hits, struck out 11, and walked one in a win. Ross has yet to face the Mets in his career.

Advantage: While Ross has the element of surprise and deGrom has yet to face the Nats, it is clear that Washington is the underdogs on paper. With the way Kershaw and Greinke dominated the Nats over the weekend, deGrom is on that kind of a roll himself right now. Plus, he is holding his opponents to a .188 average on the road this season (.221 at home). Mets take the second game.

Next: Wednesday's Matchup