Noah Syndergaard Nationals Park
ESNY Graphic, AP Photo

The Washington Nationals have been one of the most disappointing teams in baseball this year. In order for the Mets to keep making up ground on the Philadelphia Phillies and Atlanta Braves, they must continue to play well at the home of their National League East foe.

Last week, I penned a piece about the New York Mets‘ soft upcoming schedule and the opportunity that it provides. The club took care of business in the first part of this stretch by taking both games vs. the Miami Marlins. As a reminder, Sunday’s series finale was postponed and will be made up on August 5.

The Mets will now hit the road for a six-game trip beginning Tuesday against the Nationals. Pegged to compete for another NL East title, the Nationals have disappointed in a major way. Currently 16-24, Washington sits seven-and-a-half games back in the division.

While winning on the road is difficult, this is a series the Mets must have. Since Nationals Park opened in 2008, the Mets own an all-time record of 50-52 at the venue. Surprisingly, the team is 8-4 on the road against the Nationals since the start of 2018. Considering that Washington was five games better than the Mets last season, it is understandable if this statistic caught you off guard.

The importance of divisional games in Major League Baseball cannot be understated. Nearly half (76 of 162) of the Mets’ games come against NL East teams.

The Nationals are struggling right now. The Mets must bury them.

Mets Roundup

Previewing Tuesday’s matchup

After using Monday as a travel day, the Mets return to action on Tuesday. Noah Syndergaard (2-3, 5.14 ERA) faces RHP Jeremy Hellickson (2-1, 5.52 ERA).

The Nationals were nearly no-hit by Los Angeles Dodgers’ LHP Hyun-Jin Ryu on Sunday. With one out in the eighth inning, Gerardo Parra doubled for Washington’s only hit of the day.

Let’s hope Syndergaard can provide similar troubles for them.

Sunday’s rainout rescheduled for August 5

Briefly mentioned above, Sunday’s series finale vs. the Marlins was postponed due to rain. The game was called about two-and-a-half hours before first pitch to allow the players to spend more time with their families on Mother’s Day.

The two teams will make up this game as part of a doubleheader on August 5.

Jeurys Familia to be activated on Tuesday

The club will activate RHP Jeurys Familia from the 10-day IL on Tuesday. Fellow right-hander Eric Hanhold will be optioned to Triple-A Syracuse in a corresponding move.

With the emergence of RHPs Seth Lugo and Robert Gsellman behind closer Edwin Diaz, Familia will be “eased back into” the mix for the setup role.

For the latest on all things Mets, follow Teddy Rydquist on Twitter @TeddyRydquist.

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