In the not-too-distant past, a pitching matchup featuring Stephen Strasburg against either Noah Syndergaard or Matt Harvey would’ve been among the most anticipated of the season. The current state of the three pitchers mirrors that of their teams as the visiting Washington Nationals and New York Mets resume their three-game series on Saturday night.
The Mets will counter Strasburg with a tag-team effort of sorts - Syndergaard returns from injury to make his first start since April 30 and and will pitch one inning before handing the ball off to Harvey to start the second inning. “We just want to get him back on the mound, if for only a moment relatively before the season ends so that he’s back out there ... and he goes into the offseason with that little bit of additional confidence,” New York general manager Sandy Alderson said of Syndergaard. Strasburg will be looking to win his fifth consecutive start and match his career high of 15 victories, set in 2012 and matched last season. National League East-leading Washington, playing with a lineup of mostly reserves, squandered a five-run lead in a 7-6 loss in the series opener as Mets catcher Travis d’Arnaud homered twice and drove in four runs.
TV: 7:10 p.m. ET, MASN (Washington), WPIX (New York)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Nationals RH Stephen Strasburg (14-4, 2.60 ERA) vs. Mets RH Noah Syndergaard (1-2, 3.29)
Strasburg had his string of 35 consecutive innings snapped last time out, but he picked up the victory by limiting the Los Angeles Dodgers to one run on six hits over six innings. Since the All-Star break, the former No. 1 overall pick has yielded four runs over eight appearances — a span of 50 innings. Strasburg has made three starts this season against the Mets, logging a 1-1 record and 2.33 ERA.
Syndergaard was last seen leaving the mound against Washington at Nationals Park with what turned out to be a partially torn lat muscle in his right side in his fifth start of the year. As eager as New York’s brass is to see the 6-6 fireballer make a cameo, Harvey’s first career relief appearance is equally important. Since returning from a 3 1/2-month absence, Harvery has a 13.19 ERA in four starts.
1. The 28-year-old d’Arnaud, who set a career high with his 14th and 15 homers, is 5-for-10 with seven RBIs in his last three games.
2. Nationals 1B Adam Lind hit a three-run blast Friday for Washington’s 203rd home run, setting the franchise record for most in the season.
3. Mets RHP Jeurys Familia, who missed 3 1/2 months after undergoing shoulder surgery, earned his first save since May 5. He had a major-league high 51 in 2016.
PREDICTION: Nationals 6, Mets 3