Nationals at Mets Series Preview

You wouldn’t know it by looking at the fan base’s reaction today, but the Mets have started their home stand with a series victory. The Mets are 17-14, and will face the identical 17-14 Nationals this week in a series where one team could be proven a phony, while the other could be proven to have larger issues than we all feared.

These are not your lay down and die Nationals. While their pitching doesn’t impress you all that much, this team competes. Especially when they face our beloved Metsies.

I usually never call for a sweep in a series, but the Mets should be able to take all 3 in this upcoming series.

Game 1 features John Maine going up against Luis Atilano. Atilano has of course never faced the Mets, and he’s coming off of his worst start in his short 2010 season. The Braves absolutely dominated Atilano on May 5th, scoring 6 runs in just 5.1 innings.

John Maine is flying under the radar because most Mets fans seem to be surrounding the house of Oliver Perez today, ignoring the fact that Maine has pitched worse overall in 2010. Maine is given the gift of life today though. He’s pitching in a very winnable situation, and if you remember he seemed to enjoy pitching in the high winds and cold. When Maine pitched against the Dodgers, the wind gusts were 26 MPH, and it was 53 degrees. So while maybe Perez, and others will use the elements from yesterday as an excuse, Maine cannot.

I’m looking for some humorous defense from Washington today. They, like Florida always seem to make you shake your head while playing in the field.

Maine has faired very well against Washington, posting an 8-3 record with a 4.20 ERA. Nobody in this lineup really has given him trouble in the past.

So while it’s not a must win because it’s May 10th, it’s certainly an expected win.

Game 2 gives Jon Niese a chance to bounce back from what I feel like as his worst start of the year. Some may say Colorado was, but I didn’t expect him to win as much as I did against Cincinnati. Niese will be looking to get his stuff back to where it was against Philadelphia.

Scott Olsen will get the ball for Washington. I’ve always enjoyed seeing Olsen pitch because he’s either going to dominate you, or your hitters will put up a laser show against him. He’s 1-6 with a 4.61 ERA against the Mets. Jose Reyes is an impressive .385 against him in 39 AB.

Then another 1:10 pm Wednesday game features Mike Pelfrey and Craig Stammen. Pelfrey is 4-5 with a 3.86 ERA against the Nationals, while Stammen is just 1-2 with a 4.67 ERA against the Mets.

Don’t forget the Nationals took the early series against the Mets 2 games to 1. We all remember Josh Willingham’s grand slam versus Johan Santana right?

The Mets can’t let this Washington team think they have a shot in the NL East. They are a young enough team that any momentum given to them could be harmful to everybody else. The Mets are better than the Nationals, so there is no excuse in my opinion for them to do any worse than 2 out of 3 here.

About Michael Branda 267 Articles
Michael Branda grew up a Mets fan watching the mid 1980's teams and his favorite Met of all-time is (and was) Wally Backman. When it comes to sabermetrics versus old school thinking, he's in the middle and believes adopting new ways to get answers is helpful, especially when the old way has not produced results.