What to look for: Nationals vs. Mets, 1:10 PM
The Mets open a three-game series with the Nationals with a split doubleheader on Saturday afternoon at Citi Field, beginning at 1:10 PM.
Here is the starting lineup for New York in game one:
Juan Lagares – CF
David Wright – 3B
Daniel Murphy – 2B
Yoenis Cespedes – LF
Michael Cuddyer – RF
Lucas Duda – 1B
Travis d’Arnaud – C
Ruben Tejada – SS
Noah Syndergaard – RHP
Here is game one’s pitching matchup:
Noah Syndergaard (9-7, 3.34 ERA) will start for the Mets.
Gio Gonzalez (11-8, 3.93 ERA) will start for the Nationals.
Here’s what I am looking for from the Mets:
Turn up the energy.
Its cold and it’s dreary. The Mets need to get used to playing in those conditions this month.
And the Mets also need to come out of the rut they were in against the Phillies and play with a little fire and determination in this series against the Nationals, especially since they no longer hold home field advantage against the Dodgers. They have that to play for as well as finishing with more than 90 wins.
Getting that mojo back in front of three sellouts would be prudent and good practice for them ahead of their date with the Dodgers in the playoffs.
Get the bats going.
The conditions are really terrible for hitting in New York today, but the Mets still have to figure out how to muster some offense, and start hitting at home again before this 6-12 run at Citi Field.
They talk a lot about wanting home field advantage, from the players to the general manager. But it’s only an advantage if they’re effective at home. So, it’s imperative they get their game back at Citi Field starting in today’s doubleheader against a team they’ve had the better of in the second half.
This will be Noah Syndergaard’s last tune-up before what appears to be a game two start against the Dodgers in the NLDS.
In three starts since his hiatus in early September, Syndergaard has a 3.48 ERA. But that does not fairly indicate how good he’s been, as in that 3.48 ERA represents two bad pitches accounting for five runs: one was a three-run home run to Carlos Beltran and the other was a two-run home run to Brian McCann during the Subway Series.
Takeaway those five runs, and Syndergaard has allowed just three runs in three starts since returning from his time off.
He’s pitched very well in two starts against Washington this year, but he may need to change things up against them since they’re pretty familiar with him if he intends to earn his tenth win of the season. The key for him, as it was against the Reds last weekend, is to mix all of his pitches up in every sequence, and trust his off-speed stuff even when behind in the count. When he does that, there’s very little stopping this right-hander.