Noah Syndergaard and the New York Mets are in the nation’s capital tonight, beginning a 3-game brawl against the rival Washington Nationals.

  • New York Mets (40-34)
  • Washington Nationals (44-32)
  • National League, 7:05 pm EST, SNY/MASN, Full Preview
  • Nationals Park, Washington D.C., District of Columbia

Three games separate the first place Washington Nationals from the second place New York Mets in the National League East Division standings.

Three games will be played between those same Nationals and Mets beginning Monday.

How lucky are we?

New York ace and All-Star hopeful Noah Syndergaard takes his talents to D.C. for battle, one week removed from a six inning struggle against the Royals the pitcher attributed to elbow discomfort. Luckily, no human elbow sacrificing can help any more than a cortisone injection did, but it will be interesting to see how Syndergaard responds to the unsatisfying performance.

Monday kicks off a crucial stretch of 14 games in 14 days for the Mets, leading all the way into the All-Star Break.

The twist? That stretch includes four games against the so-called “best team in baseball” Chicago Cubs, four against the suddenly dominant Miami Marlins, and seven against these naggin’ Nats.

If you are curious how the lackluster and apathetic Mets have kept pace with a Nationals team two weeks removed from nearly running away with the division, here’s the answer:

While the Mets have become a baseball infirmary — with the plethora of injuries — the Nationals have seen their own share of struggles recently. Their rotation bulldog, Stephen Strasburg, went on the 15-day disabled list Sunday in the midst of an eight-game stretch that featured seven straight losses.

Per MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo, Mets manager Terry Collins said:

“Every team is going to go through a tough time. The Nats are going through one right now. Everybody’s going to have a bad time. That’s why you’ve got to go out and play and try not to get yourself in too big a hole.”

New York is two games behind Washington in the loss column. That means a legitimate division race war is brewing between these two clubs, so get your popcorn ready because the show begins now.

 CHECK OUT the New York Mets Team Center: News, Stats, Standings 

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Jeremy Fialkow was born and raised in Miami, FLA, but currently studies at the University of Maryland. When he's not studying hard, he can be found supporting his sometimes hopeless NY teams: Knicks, Mets, Jets, and Isles. Your sympathy is appreciated.