Washington Nationals: 5 to watch in 4-game visit to Citi Field

Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports /
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Washington Nationals
Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports /

Jacob deGrom

Without Noah Syndergaard and Matt Harvey not the ace that he was a couple of years ago, it’s up to deGrom to give the Mets a chance to win everytime he takes the mound. After two bad outings against the Brewers and Rangers, he stepped up in a big way against the Cubs Monday night.

For the second time this year, deGrom pitched into the ninth inning, but was able to get the complete game this time. He gave up one run on five hits, struck out six, and walked four on 116 pitches in the win.

It’s been an interesting year for deGrom because he is the top five in strikeouts (100) and also in the top five in walks (34) in the National League. Normally, you don’t see pitchers in the top five in both categories.

This season, the pitch that teams have been able to hit frequently against deGrom is his changeup. According to Brooks Baseball, opposing hitters have a .359 average against the changeup with three home runs. That’s the same amount of home runs he gave up with that pitch all of last season.

deGrom has faced the Washington Nationals in each of the first two series this season. He has 10+ strikeouts in each of those starts with one of them being a win back on April 28 when he struck out 12 in seven innings. Daniel Murphy and Trea Turner each have three hits against him this year while Zimmerman has a home run.

As for deGrom’s opponent on Sunday, that will be Joe Ross, who had a mediocre outing against the Atlanta Braves and walked more batters (three) than he struck out (two). He didn’t make it out of the fourth inning against the Mets on April 30, but the Nats won that game 23-5. Lucas Duda is 2-for-4 against him with a pair of home runs.