Washington Nationals vs. Mets Series Preview (5/23-5/25)

Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports /
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Washington Nationals
May 20, 2016; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Steven Matz (32) pitches against the Milwaukee Brewers during the first inning at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports /

Steven Matz (6-1, 2.81) vs. Tanner Roark (3-3, 2.89) – 1:05 p.m, MASN/MLB Network

With Harvey’s current struggles, you can make the case that Steven Matz is the second best pitcher on the Mets right now behind Noah Syndergaard. Even though Matz has had some forearm soreness, he had a strong outing against the Brewers. He went seven innings, gave up two runs on three hits, struck out eight, and walked no one on 88 pitches in the win.

The 24-year-old left-hander has won six consecutive outings and has held the opposition to two runs or fewer in six consecutive outings. So far this month, he has a 1.74 ERA in three outings. Last season, Matz made his debut on June 28 against the Reds. He went 4-0 in six starts with a 2.27 ERA. He did not face the Washington Nationals one time.

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In his last start against the Marlins, Tanner Roark picked up his first win of the season against Miami. The right-hander went 6.2 innings, gave up one run on six hits, struck out seven, and walked two on 108 pitches to pick up his third win of the season.

Against Miami, he threw 72 of the 108 pitches for strikes despite only throwing 14 first pitch strikes to the 27 batters he faced. The only mistake Roark made in that game was the home run hit my Marcell Ozuna in the bottom of the fourth. Despite having a 3.96 ERA in four starts this month, he has 23 strikeouts, which is seven off of his total from April.

Next: 3 Takeaways From The Nats 8-2 Win Over The Marlins

Roark has never lost a game against the Mets as he is 5-0 in 11 career appearances (six starts). Back in 2014, he was 4-0 with a 3.04 ERA against New York. Curtis Granderson is 6-for-16 (.375) with four doubles and two RBI’s in his career against Roark.

Prediction: Even though Roark bounced back in his last outing, I think the Washington Nationals’ unfamiliarity with Matz will play a factor in this game. With Matz on a roll, I expect the Mets to get the win and avoid the sweep in this series.