The New York Mets dodged a major disappointment Friday night, when they got some help from a pair of unlikely sources in their bid to climb back into the National League East race.
Now the Mets’ favorite setting — a doubleheader — awaits with a pitcher who has thrived in the seven-inning setting.
The Mets will look to move over .500 and gain more ground in the NL East on Saturday, when they are scheduled to visit the Washington Nationals in a doubleheader.
Marcus Stroman (9-12, 2.85 ERA) and fellow right-hander Tylor Megill (2-3, 4.04) are slated to start for the Mets in that order. Right-hander Erick Fedde (6-9, 5.08 ERA) is penciled in to start the first game for the Nationals, who had not announced their starter for the nightcap.
Edwin Diaz blew a two-run lead in the ninth inning Friday night for the Mets, who scored four times in the top of the 10th to earn a 6-2 win and get back to .500 at 67-67.
“Can’t make the playoffs if you’re below .500,” said first baseman Pete Alonso, whose leadoff RBI single sparked the 10th-inning outburst. “It’s a good steppingstone.”
The Mets moved within four games of the first-place Atlanta Braves and within two games of the second-place Philadelphia Phillies in the NL East by virtue of the Phillies’ and Braves’ losses Friday to the sub-.500 Miami Marlins and Colorado Rockies, respectively. New York was eight games behind the Braves on Aug. 27.
Doubleheaders have been equal parts plentiful and productive for the Mets, who have yet to be swept in any of the 12 official doubleheaders in which they’ve played. New York has split nine twin bills and swept its opponent three times — including the Nationals on Aug. 12 in the teams’ most recent doubleheader.
The Mets also played 16 innings — two more than the usual twin bill — on Tuesday in an unofficial doubleheader. They beat the Miami Marlins 6-5 in the completion of a nine-inning game suspended by rain with one out in the first on April 11 before earning a 3-1 win in the regularly scheduled seven-inning game.
The Nationals (55-78) have lost six straight and are 7-23 since the trade deadline July 30, when they entered a full rebuild mode by trading Max Scherzer and Trea Turner to the Los Angeles Dodgers.
“The guys are competing,” Nationals manager Dave Martinez said. “Now we’ve got to finish. We’ve got to start winning some of these games.”
Stroman will be starting a doubleheader game for the eighth time this season. He is 3-3 with a 2.65 ERA in doubleheader games while pitching at least five innings in each start.
Stroman didn’t factor into the decision against the Nationals on Aug. 28, when he gave up two runs over six innings in the Mets’ 5-3 victory. Megill faced Washington for the first time on Sunday and earned the win after allowing two runs over five innings as New York recorded a 9-4 victory.
Megill outdueled Fedde, who took the loss after giving up six runs (five earned) over 5 1/3 innings.
Stroman is 1-1 with a 4.64 ERA in four career starts against the Nationals. Fedde is 0-3 with a 4.75 ERA in 12 games (seven starts) against the Mets.
–Field Level Media