Washington Nationals at Mets Series Preview (9/2-9/4)

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Aug 29, 2016; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets left fielder Yoenis Cespedes (52) watches his walk off solo home run against the Miami Marlins during the tenth inning at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Aug 29, 2016; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets left fielder Yoenis Cespedes (52) watches his walk off solo home run against the Miami Marlins during the tenth inning at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports /
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Washington Nationals
Aug 29, 2016; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets left fielder Yoenis Cespedes (52) watches his walk off solo home run against the Miami Marlins during the tenth inning at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports /

The Washington Nationals begin the month of September with a three game series against the Mets at Citi Field

This week, the Washington Nationals (78-55) closed out the month of August with a series sweep against the Philadelphia Phillies. While the Nats only scored nine runs in the series, they got five of their nine runs in the first inning, including two home runs from Jayson Werth.

The starting pitching was dominant in the series as Tanner Roark, Max Scherzer, and Gio Gonzalez combined to give up three runs. Tonight, the Washington Nationals will begin their first series in the month of September against the New York Mets (69-65) at Citi Field.

Coming into this series, the Nats have a 9.5 game lead in the NL East. Right now, the defending National League champions are right in the middle of the Wild Card picture. Currently, they trail the St. Louis Cardinals by two games for the second Wild Card spot.

This weekend, Daniel Murphy returns to Citi Field for the first time since mid-July. Murphy has been dominant against his former team (.423, seven home runs, 21 RBI’s). He has been one of the reasons why the Nats are 9-4 against the Mets this season.

One of the teams that have had a lot of injuries this season is the Mets. Yesterday, second baseman Neil Walker announced he will miss the rest of the season due to a herniated disk in his back. Another big injury for the Mets has been starting pitcher Steven Matz, who is currently out because of a shoulder strain.

Despite those injuries, the Mets remain in the playoff picture. Yoenis Cespedes only played in 13 games in August, but hit .340 with five home runs and ten RBI’s. Right now, the strength for the Mets offense is at the top of the order with third baseman Jose Reyes (.304 average in the second half), shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera (six home runs, 17 RBI’s in his last 28 games), and Cespedes.

As for the pitching staff, the Mets have a 4.11 ERA as a team since the All-Star Break. Jacob deGrom has had his share of struggles over his last nine starts (2-4, 3.76 ERA). However, New York has found a way to stay in with the help of Noah Syndergaard and Bartolo Colon (5-3, 3.45 ERA in ten starts).

In the bullpen, Jeurys Familia set a franchise record for the most saves in a single season this week (44). Other relievers to watch in this bullpen are Addison Reed (22 strikeouts to three walks in 21 games) and left-hander Jerry Blevins (2.45 ERA in his last 20 games).

Before this series starts tonight, here is my breakdown of the three pitching matchups this weekend:

Next: Tonight's Matchup

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