Washington Nationals: 5 storylines to watch against reeling Mets

NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 24: Yoenis Cespedes
NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 24: Yoenis Cespedes /
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Washington Nationals
(Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images) /

The Washington Nationals are back home this weekend for a four game series against the struggling New York Mets. Here are our five storylines to watch

In what could be a potential World Series preview, the Washington Nationals (76-49) went into Minute Maid Park and took two of three from the Houston Astros this week. Out of their seven road games on this trip, the Nats won five and their magic number to clinch the NL East is now at 24.

During the Astros series, one of the things that stood out was despite the bullpen blowing a 3-0 lead last night, the team responded by scoring two runs in the 11th inning to get the win. In all three games, the Nats starting pitchers combined to give up five runs.

Now, the Washington Nationals are back home to begin a seven game homestand. Tonight, they start a four game, three day series against the New York Mets (55-71).

These two teams haven’t played each other since June. In their 12 meetings this year, the Nats are 9-3. Of course, when these two teams get together, the conversation usually centers around Daniel Murphy, who is hitting .391 with 13 RBI’s against New York this year. The Mets look a lot different since the last time these two teams played.

Over the last couple of months, New York has traded away first baseman Lucas Duda, reliever Addison Reed, outfielders Curtis Granderson and Jay Bruce, and catcher Rene Rivera. Plus, Michael Conforto dislocated his shoulder yesterday and has a tear in the posterior capsule in his shoulder.

Without Conforto and Granderson, the Mets will need Yoenis Cespedes to stay in the lineup. Cespedes has hit the ball well in August (.325, 7 home runs, 15 RBI’s in 22 games). But, the focus around the Mets is their young position players (shortstop Amed Rosario and first base Dominic Smith).

On the mound, the Mets starters have just five wins this month and three of them are from Chris Flexen. The rotation still has Jacob deGrom, but Seth Lugo and Steven Matz are now on the disabled list joining Noah Syndergaard and Matt Harvey.

As far as the bullpen goes, the Mets did add AJ Ramos at the trade deadline to help out their bullpen for 2018. They will be getting some reinforcements back this weekend as Jeurys Familia will be activated from the disabled list after being out since May (blood clot in his right arm)

Check out the four pitching matchups for this series:

Tonight: Jacob deGrom (13-7, 3.49 ERA) vs. A.J. Cole (1-3, 5.32)– 7:05 p.m ET, broadcast on MASN2

Tomorrow: Robert Gsellman (5-5, 5.65) vs. Gio Gonzalez (12-5, 2.39) – 4:05 p.m – MASN2/FS1

Sunday, Game 1: TBD vs. TBD/Tanner Roark (10-8, 4.64) – 1:35 p.m, MASN2/WUSA9

Sunday, Game 2: TBD vs. TBD/Roark – 8:08 p.m, ESPN

Now, let’s get into some of the storylines for the series and we start with the two Mets that will be a part of their future