Washington Nationals: 5 to watch as surging Mets come to D.C.

NEW YORK, NY - JULY 01: Asdrubal Cabrera
NEW YORK, NY - JULY 01: Asdrubal Cabrera /
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Washington Nationals
NEW YORK, NEW YORK – JUNE 30: Addison Reed #43 and Travis d’Arnaud #18 of the New York Mets celebrates after defeating the Philadelphia Phillies 2-1 at Citi Field on June 30, 2017 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images) /

After a rough series in St. Louis, the Washington Nationals are back home to take on the surging Mets. Here are our five players to watch.

It was a rough end of the week for the Washington Nationals (48-34). First, they found out after Thursday’s tough loss against the Cubs that Trea Turner had a fractured wrist. Then, in their series against the Cardinals, the Nats lost two out of three games, but Max Scherzer’s dominant outing and Bryce Harper’s two home runs prevented the team from being swept.

All of a sudden, the Nats big lead in the NL East has shrunk a little bit. They are currently 7.5 games ahead of the Atlanta Braves in the division and they will play Atlanta in a four game series later this week at home to end the first half. Before that, the Nats will take on the New York Mets (38-43) in a three game series.

While the Mets are in third place in the NL East, (9.5 games back), they have been playing better baseball as of late. They enter tonight’s game having won seven of their last nine games and have won three consecutive series. True, their opponents were the Giants, Marlins, and Phillies, but you can only play who is on your schedule.

In June, the Mets were one of the best teams in baseball when it came to hitting home runs. Their 50 home runs were the second most in the National League (Dodgers were first with 53). The two players who led the team in that category were right fielder Jay Bruce and center fielder Curtis Granderson (eight). Granderson missed yesterday’s game with a hip injury.

New York’s starting rotation has an ERA of 4.86, which is the 12th highest in the National League. With that being said, Steven Matz and Jacob deGrom each had a ERA lower than three in the month of June. In fact, the trio of Matz, deGrom, and Seth Lugo (all starters in this series) went a combined 10-3 last month.

If the Mets do decide to sell at the trade deadline, they have many players that other teams will go after. One of them is closer Addison Reed, who hasn’t blown a save since May 27.

Here are your pitching matchups for this series:

Tonight: Steven Matz (2-1. 3.67 ERA) vs. Stephen Strasburg (9-2, 3.51) – 6:05 p.m ET, broadcast on MASN2

Tomorrow: Seth Lugo (3-1, 3.55) vs. Joe Ross (4-3, 5.12) – 11:05 a.m, MASN/WUSA9/MLB Network

Wednesday: Jacob deGrom (8-3, 3.55) vs. Tanner Roark (6-6, 5.27) – 7:05 p.m, MASN/ESPN

Now, let’s get to our five players to watch, starting with a first baseman who will look to get his game back in the right direction: