Washington Nationals: 5 To Watch In Weekend Matchup Versus Mets

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Apr 19, 2017; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets left fielder Yoenis Cespedes (52) and New York Mets right fielder Jay Bruce (19) celebrate after a home run in the eighth inning against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 19, 2017; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets left fielder Yoenis Cespedes (52) and New York Mets right fielder Jay Bruce (19) celebrate after a home run in the eighth inning against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports /
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Washington Nationals
Apr 19, 2017; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets right fielder Jay Bruce (19) walks to the dugout after his second home run of the night against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports /

The Washington Nationals are in Citi Field tonight to begin a series with the New York Mets. Here are five players to watch in this NL East battle

It wasn’t easy, but the Washington Nationals (10-5) got off to a great start to their ten game road trip this week as they swept the Atlanta Braves in their first visit to SunTrust Park. Despite making a closer change, the team has won five of its last six games.

The Nats scored 20 runs in the three games in Atlanta, included 14 in a blowout win Wednesday night. Ryan Zimmerman led the charge on offense as he hit two home runs and drove in seven runs in the three games.

On the mound, Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg gave up a combined three runs in 14 innings in their starts as each of them picked up the win.

Now, the Nats are at Citi Field tonight to begin a three game series against the New York Mets (8-8). These two teams will play six times in the next ten days to finish out the month of April.

On offense, the Mets are a team that relies heavily on the home run. New York has hit 25 home runs as a team (second in the National League), but they have the third lowest batting average in the NL (.220) and a team on-base percentage lower than .300 (.299).

But, the offense has been hit with injuries lately. First baseman Lucas Duda (elbow), catcher Travis d’Arnaud (wrist), and infielder Wilmer Flores (infection) were out of the lineup tonight. Then, outfielder Yoenis Cespedes (six home runs) had to leave the game with a hamstring injury:

This weekend, the Nats catch a break as Noah Syndergaard is not pitching for New York. The right-hander known as Thor has 20 strikeouts, no walks, and a 0.95 ERA in three starts. Without Steven Matz, New York’s rotation has the second lowest ERA in the NL (3.14).

Here are your three pitching matchup for this weekend’s series:

Tonight: Tanner Roark (2-0, 3.50 ERA) vs. Matt Harvey (2-0, 2.45) – 7:10 p.m ET, broadcast on MASN/MLB Network

Tomorrow: Gio Gonzalez (1-0, 1.33) vs. Jacob deGrom (0-0, 1.89) – 4:10 p.m, MASN/Fox Sports 1

Sunday: Max Scherzer (2-1, 1.37) vs. Zack Wheeler (1-1, 5.52) – 8:08 p.m, ESPN

Before this series, be sure to listen to my guest segment with Gary McDonald of Mets Musings as I went on his show to preview the series. Gary will be joining me on the DoDcast postgame show next Friday night when the Mets and Nats begin their series at Nats Park.

Also, J.T. Teran of Rising Apple will be joining me Sunday night after the game on ESPN as we will record a DoDcast postgame show to recap that game on our Youtube channel.

Without further ado, here are my five players to watch, starting with a pitcher who is very comfortable at Citi Field:

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