The New York Mets have nothing to play for as they kick off their final homestand of the season with the first of three games against the Washington Nationals, who are busy prepping for the postseason. It appears it will mark the final homestand at Citi Field for Mets manager Terry Collins, who reportedly is planning to retire after the season.
New York limps home after taking a beating in a three-game sweep in Miami, getting outscored 27-7. The Mets hoped to open the series against the National League East champions on a high note with ace Jacob deGrom scheduled to start, but the right-hander is dealing with nausea and an upset stomach and was pushed back to Sunday. The Nationals have all but locked up the second seed in the NL and will likely face the Central Division winner in the first round of the postseason. Washington manager Dusty Baker said after Thursday’s loss to Atlanta that he was planning to rest his regulars Friday with the team expected to arrive late to New York.
TV: 7:10 p.m. ET, MASN (Washington), SNY (New York)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Nationals RH Edwin Jackson (5-6, 4.96 ERA) vs. Mets RH Robert Gsellman (7-7, 5.22)
Jackson has lost three straight starts and his performance has regressed in each, lasting a combined 11 1/3 innings while surrendering 17 runs on 18 hits, including a staggering seven home runs. He was pounded for seven runs in 2 1/3 innings by the Los Angeles Dodgers on Friday and lasted only 3 1/3 innings in his previous turn against Philadelphia. Asdrubal Cabrera is 5-for-28 against Jackson.
Gsellman is coming off one of his best starts of the year, working seven strong innings at Atlanta and allowing an unearned run on three hits. The 24-year-old has been hit hard in two starts against the Nationals this season, yielding five runs and 11 hits over seven innings on June 15, and six runs over four innings on Aug. 26. Ex-Met Daniel Murphy is 5-for-8 and Anthony Rendon 5-for-10 versus Gsellman.
1. Nationals 1B Ryan Zimmerman has three homers and eight RBIs in his last four games, including his career-best 34th Thursday.
2. Mets SS Jose Reyes is 12-for-36 with eight RBIs and seven runs scored over the last nine games.
3. Nationals RF Bryce Harper, sidelined since Aug. 12, will accompany the team on the trip and hit on the field Saturday.
PREDICTION: Mets 5, Nationals 4