Strong play against the New York Mets has been part of the Washington Nationals’ overall success during the last two weeks.
Making up a game from their scheduled season-opening series, the visiting Nationals aim for a third straight win over the Mets on Monday night in Queens, N.Y.
Washington is 11-3 since June 13, and four games behind first-place New York in the NL East. The Nationals took three of four from the Mets at home June 18-20, and have a chance to directly trim that division deficit during Monday’s one-off meeting from the COVID-19 postponed opening set.
The Nationals avoided a third consecutive defeat with Sunday’s 5-1 win at Miami. They now open a 14-game stretch leading into the All-Star break against the Mets, Tampa Bay Rays, the Los Angeles Dodgers, San Diego Padres and San Francisco Giants.
“This is when you find out about yourself: when you start facing the best,” Nationals star Max Scherzer, who got the win Sunday, told The Washington Post. “We’re playing good baseball right now.”
New York, meanwhile, fell 4-2 on Sunday to split a four-game home set with Philadelphia. The Mets have totaled 29 runs while losing eight of their last 13.
Jerad Eickhoff looks to build on a strong outing in his Mets’ debut on Monday. Called up from Triple-A Syracuse, Eickhoff made his first start since June 10, 2019, last Monday, during a 1-0 loss in the second game of a doubleheader with Atlanta. The right-hander, who pitched five seasons for Philadelphia from 2015-19, allowed three hits and three walks while striking out three over four scoreless innings.
“This is what I work for,” Eickhoff told the Mets’ official website. “This is what I prepare for in the offseason.
“I worked extremely hard over the past couple of years … to be in a position to have this opportunity. I don’t know what’s going to unfold here, but you just try to put your best foot forward and go from there.”
Eickhoff is 1-1 with a 2.70 ERA in five career starts against the Nationals, but last faced them in May 2019.
Washington’s Kyle Schwarber failed to homer in each of the last two games after going deep nine times in the previous six. Five of those home runs, however, came in two games against the Mets. Schwarber is also 3-for-8 with two home runs against Eickhoff.
It’s uncertain if Washington’s Victor Robles will be available after he left Sunday’s game with a knee contusion.
The Nationals were slated to send Erick Fedde to the mound on Monday, but he was placed on the 10-day injured list with a left oblique strain. Fedde had replaced the injured Stephen Strasburg in Washington’s rotation. Nationals manager Dave Martinez had not decided on a starter during Sunday’s post-game press conference, but it will likely end up being a bullpen outing for the club.
New York’s Pete Alonso had three hits Sunday, and is batting .375 (9-for-24) in his last seven games. He’s batting .333 with two home runs in seven games against the Nationals this season.
–Field Level Media