No matter what happens in this three-game series with the Mets, the Nationals have already clinched the season series as the Nationals are up 10-6 against the Mets for 2016.
The series also opens with the Nationals up by +9.0 games in the NL East ahead of the Mets. The Vegas line favors the Mets in this series, but there is a reason we play the games.
“We certainly know we can play with them,” said manager Terry Collins about this three-game series with the Nationals. “[The Nationals] have got a little bit of pitching issues right now, similar to us, so we’ve just got to go in there and play. For us, it’s about winning games, I don’t care who they are against.”
The math is easy to calculate where the standings could be after this three game series, and to plainly see that the Nationals did not attempt to manipulate their rotation of starters to get Scherzer pitching in this series.
Instead, the Mets will face two replacement pitchers that Dusty Baker will insert based on need. Dusty Baker had choices to pick two pitchers from the talent pool of Reynaldo Lopez, Lucas Giolito, Mat Latos and A.J. Cole to pitch tonight and tomorrow in the spots once held by Stephen Strasburg and Joe Ross, and Baker went with Latos and Cole. Yes, the rotation that was once Scherzer, Strasburg, Gio, Tanner Roark and Joe Ross is now in this order Scherzer, Gio, Latos, Cole, and Roark. There is no guarantees for Latos and Cole to continue in the rotation as this is a merit based system.
Opportunity breeds success as some say, and Mat Latos and A.J. Cole have an opportunity to show Dusty Baker and Mike Rizzo that they deserve to be part of the Nationals’ post-season rotation if there is an available opening, and the showcase begins tonight.
Here are the pitching probables for this three-game series with the Mets:
- Rafael Montero (RHP) 4.63 ERA vs. Mat Latos (RHP) 4.74 ERA
- Noah Syndergaard (RHP) 2.48 ERA vs. A.J. Cole (RHP) 4.56 ERA
- Robert Gsellman (RHP) 3.92 ERA vs. Tanner Roark (RHP) 2.85
The Nationals are coming off of their four-game series with the Phillies where the Nationals only averaged 3 runs per game in the series. The Mets in their last four games have averaged 6 1/4 runs per game.
“Every time we play the Nationals we know it’s not going to be easy — they have got a great ballclub,” Jose Reyes said. “Last series we played good against them and hopefully we can play there the same way. The first game we have to set the tone right away.”
Good pitching beats good hitting, and the Nats hope their pitching is good enough to cool off the Mets.