The Baltimore Orioles start a road series with the Cleveland Indians. The Orioles have a four game losing streak and have been striking out a lot. The Orioles have played some close games but need to get things together.
Tweet The Baltimore Orioles traded Brian Matusz and their 76th overall draft pick in this years MLB draft to the Atlanta Braves for minor-league pitchers Brandon Barker and Trevor Belicek. Matusz has posted a 12.00 era this year and has struggled against right handed pitchers. Once a top baseball prospect since being the 4th overall …View full post
Story by Andy Tabor
Photo by Arturo Pardavila III
The Washington Nationals take on the defending National League Champion New York Mets in a mid-May three game set starting today. This will be the first time the two NL East frontrunners will face one another this season.
The Nationals clearly understand the importance of these games and will send their three best starters to the mound. Max Scherzer will start game one, Gio Gonzalez will follow in game two and Stephen Strasburg will start the series’ finale on Thursday.
Mets’ pitcher Noah Syndergaard will start today but is only 1-2 with a 3.66 ERA in his last three starts. Scherzer on the other hand is coming off a 20 strikeout performance against his former team, the Detroit Tigers. Despite the historic accomplishment, Scherzer is still struggling to find consistency as he is 4-2 with a 4.15 ERA this season.
Like Scherzer, both teams have been inconsistent of late going 4-6 in their last ten games, respectively. The Nats recently split a four game series against the Marlins in which they took the first two before dropping the final two games. The Mets on the other hand were just swept in a three game series at Coors Field by the Rockies.
Even though the Philadelphia Phillies are hanging tough, by the end of the season it’s expected that Washington and New York will be the two teams left battling for first place in the NL East. This wasn’t the case a season ago when the Nationals were expected to run away with the division, and World Series.
The Mets had other plans and were able to go 11-8 in head-to-head match-ups against the Nationals a season ago. Most damning for the Nationals’ playoff hopes were the six straight losses they incurred to the Mets between July 31 and September 9.
Recently, Mets’ outfielder Yoenis Cespedes added fuel to the rivalry’s fire by telling reporters he was never close to joining the Nationals in the off-season. Washington offered Cespedes a massive contract for five years yet Cespedes chose to remain in New York for 3 years and 75 million dollars. It’s also important to note that Cespedes has the option to opt-out of the contract at the end of this season to potentially hit the free agent lottery even more-so this time around.
This is also the first time former Mets’ second baseman Daniel Murphy will return to Citi Field to play his old team. Murphy has been on fire this season hitting .400, with five home runs and 23 RBI’s. Murphy is in the starting lineup tonight and will bat fifth behind outfielder Bryce Harper.
Delving deeper into the numbers, the Nats and the Mets are actually quite similar in most hitting and pitching categories. Out of all 30 teams, the Nats are eighth in total home runs while the Mets rank fourth. The Nats are 17th in total runs, 19th in batting average and 15th in On-Base-Plus-Slugging-Percentage while the Mets are 21st, 22nd and 9th in the same categories, respectively.
Pitching is where the similarities tighten as both teams sit in the top three of team ERA, Nats second and Mets third, strikeout-to-walk-ratio, Mets in first Nats in fourth and home runs allowed where the Mets have allowed the least while the Nats have allowed the fourth least in all of baseball. This series most likely will come down to which team’s starters can limit the long ball while going deep into each contest.
Whichever way this series goes, the Nats and Mets will have plenty of time to get back at each other considering the two sides will play another 16 times after Thursday’s series finale. However, keep in mind the winner of the first series of the season between these two sides went on to win the division, with the Nationals winning in 2014 and the Mets in 2015.