With the Subway Series finally out of the way, there’s the matter of an N.L. East flag to capture.
- Mets remaining schedule: ATLANTA (3); @ Cincinnati (4); @ Philadelphia (3); WASHINGTON (3).
- Nationals remaining schedule: BALTIMORE (3); PHILADELPHIA (3); CINCINNATI (1); @ Atlanta (3); @ New York (3).
Sunday’s lopsided loss to the Yankees coupled with Washington’s victory over Miami kept the Mets’ magic number set at 8 with 13 games left to play.Sep 8, 2015; Washington, DC, USA; New York Mets shortstop Wilmer Flores (4) celebrates with teammates after scoring on center fielder Yoenis Cespedes (not pictured) three run double during the seventh inning against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports
Speaking of Miami, the Nationals are fresh off taking 3 of 4 from the Marlins over the weekend, and went 4-3 against them this month. The Mets meanwhile posted a 2-4 September record against the Fish.
The Mets entered Monday’s action with a 6 game lead over the Nationals. Both will now play a stretch of 10 games leading up to their end of season series finale at Citi Field.
The Mets have gone 11-7 in September prior to Monday, with 95 runs scored and 92 runs against. The Nationals have gone 12-7 this month, but have scored 117 runs, with only 69 runs allowed.
After a prodigious month of August, the Mets presently rank 5th in team average for September behind a 1st place tie between Washington and Miami. The Mets, however, are presently 1st in the league in slugging and 2nd in OPS for September, while Washington leads in OPS and is 2nd to the Mets in slugging.
The more troubling Mets trends are transpiring on the mound.
Washington pitchers own the circuit’s 4th best ERA for the month of September, while the Mets 4.44 ERA presently rates 9th (and 3rd in the division behind Miami). The Nationals 1.16 WHiP for September also ranks 4th, with the Mets’ 1.34 mark slightly behind in 6th.
Nationals pitchers have also struck out the league’s 3rd most batters, while Mets hurlers have fanned the 9th most. The most glaring disparity, however, comes in average against. The Nationals’ .233 AA is presently 3rd best in the league this month, while the Mets’ .274 mark is 13th.
Consider Washington’s recent years of playoff contention, and the fact their pitchers are either established veterans, or at the very least, are well beyond prohibitive inning limits. In other words, they’ve been through this before, several times in fact.
Mets pitchers, however, have not.
Many have questioned the Nationals mettle this season – me included. But here they come nonetheless.
The Mets, on the other hand, have lost 4 of their last 5 games. With regards to their pitchers, end of season fatigue can play powerful tricks on the mind. Could September’s trend be a case of their young and relatively inexperienced pitchers tiring, or losing their mojo down the stretch?
I do not know that to be the case.
If sufficiently tortured we can make statistics say whatever we chose. So, here’s a few more…
Washington’s defense has handled the least total chances in the N.L. this season, and have turned the 2nd least double-plays. Otherwise, the Mets and Nationals have equally committed 84 errors this season, and share an identical .985 team fielding average.
This much I do know, a major decisive clash is drawing nearer.