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Big series this weekend? You bet!

Apr 30, 2015, 10:18 AM EDT

USA Today Sports Images

ATLANTA — The Nationals may have begun to right their wayward ship over the last two nights, hammering out 26 total runs against the Braves and (most importantly) winning a pair of games after losing six straight.

Whether that ship remains on course, though, now depends on what happens this weekend in New York, where the best-in-baseball Mets await for a 4-game set that could go a long way toward determining just how the NL East race is going to shape up through the first half of the season.

Big series? You bet.

The Mets currently lead the Nationals by six games — the lead had been eight games two days ago, before the Nats turned it around against the Braves and New York lost a pair in Miami — with four games set for this weekend at Citi Field. Now consider the various standings swings that could take place…

— If the Nationals sweep the series, they’ll be only two games back.

— If the Nationals take 3-of-4, they’ll be four back.

— If the two clubs split the series, the Nationals will remain six back.

— If the Mets take 3-of-4, they’ll increase their lead to eight games.

— If the Mets sweep, they’ll hold a commanding 10-game lead.

Yes, it’s only April 30, but how does an 8- or 10-game deficit sound to you right now?

“I think the only way we can look at it is: It would be nice if we could go in there and win the series,” center fielder Denard Span said. “Right now, we’ve dug ourselves a little bit of a hole, even though it is ‘quote-unquote’ early. But we’ve just got to concentrate on winning one game at a time, and then winning series. If we do that, we’ll get back to where we should be.”

The Mets were expected to be an improved club this season, but most didn’t expect them to become among the biggest stories in baseball. Now, thanks to their 15-7 start (though they’ve lost 3-of-4) they’re the talk of New York. Which makes this weekend’s series a star-studded event in the Big Apple.

Stephen Strasburg vs. Jacob deGrom tonight. Max Scherzer vs. Matt Harvey on Friday night in the premier matchup of the series. Gio Gonzalez vs. Jon Niese on Saturday, with Doug Fister vs. Dillon Gee in Sunday’s finale.

No, this isn’t the be-all, end-all series for the 2015 Nationals. There’s so much baseball left to be played.

But this weekend does present both the Nats and Mets an opportunity to make a statement and establish how the NL East race will shaped moving forward.

  1. manassasnatsfan - Apr 30, 2015 at 10:21 AM

    One game at a time, one series at a time. Winning this series would be a big step to getting back to the top.

    Desi 0 for his last 23 needs to join the party. He usually hits well in Citi Field.

  2. TimDz - Apr 30, 2015 at 10:22 AM

    I think the key is game one….you win game one and you get into the Met’s head….given that we owned them last year, coming into their yard and spanking them could lead to a series win….

    • stoatva - Apr 30, 2015 at 10:45 AM

      Like getting ahead in the count.

  3. Section 222 - Apr 30, 2015 at 10:23 AM

    Exciting stuff. And a very good test for our highly touted rotation. Is it really the best in baseball or must we cede that title to the Mets? You can’t be the best unless you can beat the best. Stras has to set the tone for the series tonight. And Max Scherzer? Let’s see what you’ve got going up against the Dark Knight himself.

    Fasten your seatbelts.

    • ArVAFan - Apr 30, 2015 at 10:51 AM

      +1. Or dare I say, +3.

  4. Eric - Apr 30, 2015 at 10:52 AM

    Very nervous and excited. GO NATS!!!

  5. nats106 - Apr 30, 2015 at 11:20 AM

    Winning this series would be huge. Hoping for 3 of 4!

  6. Sec 3, My Sofa - Apr 30, 2015 at 11:59 AM

    The baseball fan in me wants to see four close, well-played games.

    The Nats fan wants to see them take ALL the Mets’ bases.

    • nats106 - Apr 30, 2015 at 12:21 PM

      I much prefer games like yesterday. They need to give the Mets a total beatdown, then thump their chests afterwards.

      • Steady Eddie - Apr 30, 2015 at 1:08 PM

        No chest bumping without at least due respect for the Mets. We’ve got a dozen more games to play against them this season after this series.

      • Steady Eddie - Apr 30, 2015 at 1:09 PM

        No chest thumping. Chest bumping on appropriate occasions is fine.

  7. Sec 3, My Sofa - Apr 30, 2015 at 12:04 PM

    Plus, narratives exist in hindsight, but if coming back on the Braves the other night reversed the Nats’ attitudes, then taking this series (for either team) and the next one here in DC will go a long way to setting the Mets’ narrative for the summer. Spank the Mets now, and

    Order Is Restored

    . Spank the Nationals, and

    The Mets Are For Real


    • jd - Apr 30, 2015 at 12:52 PM

      I am a one game at a time kind of fan. I’m not looking at the series as a whole until Sunday.

    • Nats Fan Zee - Apr 30, 2015 at 2:20 PM

      Nope … The Mets are for real but I am sticking to the prediction I made with my NY friends …. We win tonight and go .500 with them for April then proceed to take the next 2 of three to win this series, so we go 3-1.

      They are for real but I don’t think this is their year …. Next year however, depending on “Rizzo Magic” (trades)’ the Mets may be the team to beat.

      • davebinmd - Apr 30, 2015 at 3:23 PM

        When Wily Mo Pena came to the Nats and was hot the first 3 weeks or so here, I had a close friend who had moved to Boston and was very familiar with Pena from his time with the Red Sox. I was telling him how well Pena was doing here, and his reply was: “Water will find it’s level”.

        The Mets will also find their level, and it’s not where they are now.

  8. Sec 3, My Sofa - Apr 30, 2015 at 12:42 PM

    Is it wrong of me to point out that “right their wayward ship” is a bit of a mixed metaphor, in that “wayward” implies they are lost, while “right the ship” implies they were listing? Probably.

    • natsfan1a - Apr 30, 2015 at 1:41 PM

      Is it wrong of me to agree with you? Probably.

    • Bruxtun - Apr 30, 2015 at 2:20 PM

      That’s called being pedantic, but that is why the internet was invented. Point on!

  9. letswin3 - Apr 30, 2015 at 4:15 PM

    My hunch is that in September some of us may be pointing to the Simmons slide as the start of the 2015 season. And this series could give us reason to accept or reject that possibility. I’ve seen stuff in the last 2 days that gave me more than hope … Span’s stealing when some of us would just as soon see him baby his health for another week or two, and Ramos going from first to third on that single when his hammy is on everyone’s mind are just 2 of several positives that kind of materialized after Simmons “mistake”.





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