There is exactly one month left in baseball’s regular season and the New York Mets (66-67) are trying to get themselves back into the playoff hunt after a disastrous August. The Mets have gotten hot over the past week, ripping off four straight wins (an unofficial fifth win is in there as well) to cut their deficit in the National League East from 8.5 games to five. The margin in the Wild Card race is also the same, meaning the Mets have to keep stacking up wins to try and make up ground, with their next opportunity coming tonight as they open a weekend series with the struggling Washington Nationals (55-77). First pitch for the opener of this five-game wraparound set is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. at Nationals Park.
Left-hander Rich Hill (6-6, 4.11 ERA) is set to take the mound for the Mets tonight. Hill pitched well against the Nationals last Friday, giving up two runs in five innings of work, but was stuck with a tough loss when the Mets gave him only one run of support. The Nationals will counter with lefty Sean Nolin (0-2, 6.57 ERA) to complete the matchup of southpaws. Nolin’s last start came against the Mets last Saturday, when he gave up two runs in 5.1 innings of work but was not a factor in the decision. The Mets ended up rallying for a 5-3 win in that contest.
New York Mets Lineup:
— New York Mets (@Mets) September 3, 2021
- The Mets are 8-6 against the Nationals so far this season and won two out of three against them at Citi Field last weekend.
- The Mets are just 1-4 at Nationals Park this season and lost their last trip there on June 28 in a makeup game from the postponement of the season-opening series.
- Hill is 0-2 with a 5.79 ERA in two starts against the Nationals this season.
- Nolin is 0-1 with a 6.48 ERA in two starts against the Mets in 2021.
- The Mets have activated LHP Brad Hand, who they claimed off of waivers from the Toronto Blue Jays yesterday. RHP Yennsy Diaz was optioned to AAA Syracuse to make room for Hand on the active roster.
- Jeff McNeil will get the night off with the lefty Nolin on the mound. Kevin Pillar, who homered twice against Nolin last Saturday, will start in left field and bat seventh.
- Josh Bell (3 for 12, 2B, RBI), Alcides Escobar (4 for 8, RBI), Juan Soto (2 for 7, HR, 3 RBI) and Ryan Zimmerman (7 for 14, 2B, 2 HR, 3 RBI) have good numbers against Hill.
- Besides Pillar, Brandon Nimmo (2 for 5, HR, 3 RBI), Dominic Smith (2 for 2), Jonathan Villar (2 for 5) and J.D. Davis (2 for 2) have done well against Nolin this year.