The Nationals have put themselves in another hole of their own making, but some credit should be given to the Mets for stealing the first two games of this series. The Nats go for a salvage win in this series that they trail two games to none as the Nats have lost the last two games in their bullpen in consecutive one-run losses. In fact, the last five meetings between these two teams have resulted in five straight losses by the Nats who have held leads going into the 8th or 9th innings resulting in five blown saves. CitiField used to be a place where the Nationals have dominated the Mets but recently has become a house of horrors. Today’s Vegas line has the Mets as overwhelming favorites with Jacob deGrom on the mound versus Anibal Sanchez.
Two weeks ago, the Nationals were playing the Dodgers and similar circumstances with the Cy Young favorite Hyun-Jin Ryu going against Anibal Sanchez. It was Sanchez who went 7.0 innings of one run baseball and pitched better than Ryu on that day. You have to figure deGrom will be very good today, and the way to beat him is what the Nats starters have done this entire series is to pitch as good as or better than the Mets starters. The issue of course has been the Nats bullpen, and the Nats position players not taking advantage of the majority of the opportunities as the team is 3-19 (.158) in RISP situations. Fortunately Juan Soto showed up to play in this series, and he has three home runs in this series and carried the offense yesterday.
“It’s tough, but it is what it is,” Soto said. “It happens sometimes. It happened at the beginning of the season, and now it has happened [again]. Like before, forget about it, and keep fighting every day. Every day — keep fighting.”
While Soto, Anthony Rendon, Trea Turner and Matt Adams are having a very good series, Victor Robles is 1-7, the Nats catchers are 0-7, and the Nats second baseman are 1-8. The Nats have some interesting numbers against deGrom. Adam Eaton is 6-15 (.400) and Matt Adams is 4-13 (.308), and Trea Turner is 10-31 (.290). Kind of in the middle is Gerardo Parra who is 4-18 (.222) with a home run against deGrom, and Victor Robles is 2-8 (.250). On the other side of the ledger, Kurt Suzuki 1-14 (.071), Rendon 2-28 (.071), and Juan Soto is 1-8 (.125).
It is fairly clear that Victor Robles is not right. He could be dealing with leg fatigue or some sort of minor injury which could explain why his power has been zapped, and his batting average is down to .235. Of course it could also just be a mid-season slump. Whatever it is, the Nats need offensive production from Robles. He is still turning in some great defense, but getting him some consecutive days of rest seems like a good idea. The Thursday day-off helped several of the Nats, but Robles continues to scuffle. We will see how manager Dave Martinez pieces together his lineup today.
The other news that Nats fans will anxiously await is how Max Scherzer feels today after throwing a 35-to-36 pitch bullpen session yesterday. If Scherzer is feeling good, he could pitch a sim game as early as Tuesday at Nats Park. Most likely, Scherzer will pitch another bullpen session to get his pitch count up as he rebuilds his stamina.
Washington Nationals vs. New York Mets
Stadium: CitiField, Queens, New York
1st Pitch: 1:10 pm EDT
TV: MASN, SNY, MLB.TV
Nats Radio: 106.7 FM The Fan; SiriusXM® ( Streaming Internet 869)
Line-up subject to change (without notice):