The New York Mets, coming off their first series win of the season, will play host to the reeling Washington Nationals on Monday night.
New York cooled off what had been the major league’s hottest team — the Miami Marlins — in winning the last two of a weekend set.
Washington, however, has lost three straight games and was four innings from potentially getting swept by the crosstown Baltimore Orioles when their Sunday game was suspended due to rain and a tarp issue. Washington trailed, 5-2, at the time.
The Mets appear to be hitting their stride, especially if they can get star first baseman Pete Alonso on track. Last year, the NL Rookie of the Year blasted 53 homers, leading the majors and setting a Mets record. He also drove in 120 runs and had a .941 OPS.
This season, in 16 games, Alonso is hitting just .197 with two homers, six RBIs and a .649 OPS.
“He’ll be fine,” Mets hitting coach Chili Davis said of Alonso. “He has to get the homers out of his head. He just has to hit.”
The Mets on Monday will start lefty Steven Matz (0-2, 5.65 ERA). He was 11-10 with a 4.21 ERA last season but is also off to a slow start.
In three appearances, Matz has one quality start, but he followed that up by allowing eight runs in 8 1/3 innings in his last two appearances. The Nationals beat him in his most recent start, getting seven hits and five runs in three innings.
“It’s almost like (Matz) didn’t have zip behind (his pitches),” Mets manager Luis Rojas said after that 5-3 loss.
In his career against the Nationals, Matz is 1-6 with a 3.91 ERA in 13 starts.
The Nationals will counter Matz with their own lefty, Patrick Corbin (1-0, 3.00 ERA, two starts). For his career, Corbin is 3-5 with a 4.48 ERA in 15 appearances against the Mets. But his most recent outing was a win over the Mets, where he allowed eight hits, one walk and three runs over 5 2/3 innings. He struck out eight.
Offensively, the Nationals are looking for more from leadoff man Trea Turner, who is batting .196 and is stuck in a 2-for-23 slump.
“Every day, coming to the ballpark is like a rollercoaster,” Turner said. “As a team, we’ve got to move on and play better.”
Turner’s slump, however, extends past his bat. He has stolen more than 30 bases in each of the past four years, with 157 in total. This year, though, he has zero steals and has been caught three times.
Meanwhile, the Mets have their own speedster, rookie infielder Andres Gimenez, who went 3-for-4 with three runs scored and one steal in Sunday’s 4-2 win over the Marlins.
Gimenez, who is also a slick fielder and New York’s top prospect, has three steals and has yet to be caught this year. He averaged 34 steals over the past two years in the minors.
As for his bat — perhaps his weakest tool — Gimenez is hitting .333 with a .795 OPS, although it’s too early to project too much there just yet.
“He’s been impressive so far,” teammate and Mets ace Jacob deGrom said of Gimenez. “I enjoy watching him play.”
–Field Level Media