Series Preview: Washington Nationals

The Washington Nationals. They are a great show.

You just can’t watch them past the first week of October.

After taking the opening series from St.Louis, and then sweeping a weather shortened series with Philadelphia, the Mets hope to continue their hot play in the nation’s capital.

The series will kick off Thursday afternoon as Jacob deGrom, the day game extraordinaire, will face off against Stephen Strasburg. The teams will then enjoy an off day Friday, and build snowmen on Saturday.

Last year, my friend and I determined that every game could be played in a dome or warm weather locale, aside from one solitary game. Obviously, we didn’t factor in concerts and other events, but is MLB even trying? Can we at least attempt to protect the players and provide an enjoyable experience for the fans in early spring?

I digress.

As stated, Saturday’s game will almost certainly be postponed, but Steven Matz is scheduled to pitch against Gio Gonzalez. In what will be only the second night game of the year, Matt Harvey will take on Tanner Roark Sunday night.

We miss Daniel Murphy and Max Scherzer this time around, which is just fantastic.

Washington got off to a hot start, sweeping the Reds in Cincinnati. They took the first game in their series against Atlanta before falling in the next two, and losing the series. The Mets will hope a white hot Bryce Harper cools off. Harper is hitting .333 with 4 home runs and 9 RBIs in the first week.

In just a few hours, we will activate Michael Conforto from the disabled list. If I had to guess, that would mean Philip Evans will be sent down, but maybe the Mets have a surprise up their sleeve.

If we’re being honest, when the Mets originally said Michael Conforto’s return date was May 1st, I was hoping he’d appear by the All-Star break. The fact he’s being activated just a week into the season is a dream come true. I can’t wait to see him back in the lineup.

This is obviously a huge series. The goal is to reach the postseason, preferably through an NL East title, so these are must win games. Sweeping the Phillies was a great start, but the Nationals are who the Mets should have their sights set on.

I gotta say I’m pleasantly surprised on how this season has started for the Amazing Mets. Last year when the game was tied in the 5th inning, we were waiting for a bullpen implosion. The phenomenal pitching from Gsellman and Lugo in relief roles has been a revelation. Add in some timely hitting and it’s been fun to watch. The Mets have been capitalizing on mistakes too, which is what good teams do.

The Nationals will be a huge test for Steven Matz, who had an underwhelming performance in his debut. Weather has the status of that game up in the air so we will wait to see what happens this weekend.

Matt Harvey looks to follow up a wonderful debut in a Primetime game Sunday night. Jacob deGrom will hope to continue his historic dominance during day games.

Amed Rosario is a stud, and I look forward to watching him at shortstop for years to come. Cespedes is healthy and hitting balls over the fence. Add in the return of Michael Conforto and there is reason for optimism.