9/7/2015 Game Preview: Murphy back in lineup vs. Nats

The Mets (75-61) take on the Washington Nationals (71-65) at 1:05 PM at Nationals Park in Washington D.C. Jon Niese (4.17 ERA, 4.45 FIP, 1.37 WHIP, 157 2/3 IP over 26 starts) takes on Max Scherzer (2.89 ERA, 2.75 FIP, 0.96 WHIP, 184 IP over 27 starts).

Lineups:

[via NY Post]

Mets:

  1. Curtis Granderson, RF (L)
  2. David Wright, 3B (R)
  3. Daniel Murphy, 1B (L)
  4. Yoenis Cespedes, CF (R)
  5. Michael Conforto, LF (L)
  6. Travis d’Arnaud, C (R)
  7. Kelly Johnson, 2B (L)
  8. Wilmer Flores, SS (R)
  9. Jon Niese, P (L)

Nationals:

  1. Jayson Werth, LF (R)
  2. Anthony Rendon, 2B (R)
  3. Bryce Harper, RF (L)
  4. Ryan Zimmerman, 1B (R)
  5. Yunel Escobar, 3B (R)
  6. Ian Desmond, SS (R)
  7. Wilson Ramos, C (R)
  8. Michael Taylor, CF (R)
  9. Max Scherzer, P (R)

Jon Niese is coming off of three bad starts for the Mets, prompting Terry Collins to tell him that today’s game would be “the biggest game he’s ever pitched in his life.” Sure enough, this week’s series is the biggest the Mets have played since chasing a playoff position in 2008, a year when Niese was just getting his feet wet in the majors. Niese had a stretch this season of 12/13 quality starts (the one non-quality start being the day his son was being born). In the three starts since, however, he has allowed 18 runs in 16 1/3 innings. In his one start against Washington this season, however, he allowed only one run over seven innings pitched.

Max Scherzer, after a fast start to the season, as struggled more of late. Over the last two months, he has a 4.82 ERA with a 4.12 FIP and a 1.29 WHIP. In his two starts against the Mets this year, he has allowed just one earned run (4 runs total) over 14 2/3 innings pitched, but was charged with the loss both times.

Lucas Duda has been activated from the disabled list for today’s game. He is available to pinch hit.

Daniel Murphy returns to the lineup for the first time since last Wednesday. He is batting third and playing first base.

Yoenis Cespedes has struggled against lefties, but he has torn up right handed pitching this season. He is hitting .318/.345/.575 against righties this season with a .389 wOBA and 150 wRC+. For the Nationals, while Ryan Zimmerman has struggled quite a bit this season, he has gotten hot of late. The Mets and Jon Niese will have to be careful with him – he is hitting .315/.364/.674 against left handed pitchers this season with 7 of his 16 home runs (in only 89 at bats). That’s good for a .430 wOBA and a 176 wRC+.


Needless to say, this is a huge series, probably the most important the Mets have had in seven years. While Niese has struggled of late, so has Scherzer (albeit to a lesser extent). Today’s game is important for the Mets; a win ensures they leave this series with at least a 3 game lead in the division. It is important to remember that while the Nationals are hot, the Mets remain in the driver’s seat regardless of what happens in this series. A sweep by Washington and they’re still ahead by one game, while a sweep by New York puts them ahead seven.

This will be exciting baseball. Enjoy it, we haven’t had this in a while.

LET’S GO METS!

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