Washington Nationals vs. New York Mets Pick 8/9/19
Washington Nationals (61-53) vs. New York Mets (59-56)
When: 7 p.m., Friday, August 9
Where: Citi Field, New York
Moneyline: WSH -117/NYM +112 (BetAnySports)
Runline: Nats -1.5/Mets +1.5
Starting Pitchers: Stephen Strasburg (14-5, 3.72 ERA, 1.08 WHIP) vs. Marcus Stroman (6-11, 3.07 ERA, 1.26 WHIP)
Back From the Dead
After their moves at the trade deadline, the Mets were the butt of every joke, as nobody could figure out what the plan was in Queens. Were the Mets buyers, sellers, or just throwing darts against the wall? Well, the only ones laughing now are the Mets, who have won 13 of 14 for their best stretch since 1990. From out of nowhere, the Mets have pulled themselves to a half-game back of Milwaukee for the second wild card, making their deadline moves look simply brilliant.
Now they’ve got an opportunity to show that it’s for real by beating the team that’s currently holding the first wild card spot. For all of New York’s recent success, the fact remains that all of those wins came against the Padres, Pirates, White Sox and Marlins — none of whom are remotely close to being a .500 ball club. If the Mets can take two of three or better from the Nationals, they’ll prove that their playoff push is for real.
Is there something wrong with Stephen Strasburg, or do things only go wrong for him when he faces Arizona? Strasburg turned in his worst performance of the year by a mile on Saturday at Chase Field when the Diamondbacks whacked him for nine earned runs, more than he gave up in the entire month of July. For the season, Strasburg has only conceded more than four runs in three of his 23 starts this season — and two of them were against Arizona.
So that worry is in the past now that the Diamondbacks are off the Nationals’ schedule until 2020, right? Not necessarily. Nationals manager Dave Martinez said after Strasburg’s lousy performance that his location was off and a few of his pitchers were “right down the middle”. If that’s the case, that could be a bigger problem than facing the Diamondbacks. Strasburg has been excellent for most of the year, and it’s never wise to overreact to one game, but it’s worth pausing an extra second to consider whether this was an Arizona aberration or if he really isn’t himself.
Welcome to New York
This game is the type that Marcus Stroman wanted to pitch in when he asked out of Toronto. Stroman had pitched in big games before in Canada when the Jays were a playoff team. But, with their descent into ineptitude, his talents have been wasted on a weak team for the past two seasons.
Now the Long Island native comes home for his first start in Queens after struggling through his first Mets start in Pittsburgh. This begs the question as to how Stroman will handle this moment. Adjusting to New York is never an easy thing for a player to do, and for Stroman, that’s magnified because he’s from New York and will be pitching in front of friends and family for the first time as a member of the home team.
Stroman has made ten appearances at the other ballpark in New York, Yankee Stadium, and the Mets will be hoping for something a lot better than his history in the Bronx. Stroman is 2-6 with a 6.13 ERA in New York for his career, but that does come with an asterisk because all 10 of those pitching appearances were against the Yankees.
Since the start of the season, the Mets have had the better of this matchup. New York is 8-5 for the season against the Nationals and 5-2 at Citi Field, including a four-game sweep of Washington in mid-May. But after that game, the Nationals then went 30-11 over the next 41 games to get themselves into playoff position — precisely the spot the Mets could be in after this contest.
- The Nationals are 7-0 in their past seven games after a day off.
- The Nationals are 43-11 in Strasburg’s last 54 starts against the NL East.
- The Mets have won their past eight home games.
- The Mets are 18-4 in their past 22 games against a right-handed starter.
- The under is 4-0 in the Nationals’ past four Friday games.
- The over is 4-1-2 in the Mets’ past seven games.
It’ll be a warm evening in Queens, with the temperature slated to hit 84 degrees at first pitch.
It’s hard to go against the Mets right now, but the fact remains that they haven’t done their damage against a team of the Nationals’ quality. Plus, Stroman’s emotions make him a wild card and Strasburg is as good as it gets against the NL East. Strasburg might not be able to beat Arizona to save his life, but he’s had no problem pitching at Citi Field, holding the Mets to eight hits and two earned runs in 13.2 innings there this season.
I don’t yet trust Stroman on this Mets team, as he hasn’t had to pitch in New York and deal with the New York fans as a member of the home side. I certainly don’t trust him to succeed in that against Strasburg. The Mets have played some great baseball for the past two weeks, but in this matchup, I want the Nationals.
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