Mets vs. Nationals Odds, Preview, Prediction: Washington Starts 4-Game Set vs. NL East Leader (Friday, June 18)

Mets vs. Nationals Odds, Preview, Prediction: Washington Starts 4-Game Set vs. NL East Leader (Friday, June 18) article feature image
Credit:

Greg Fiume/Getty Images. Pictured: Juan Soto.

  • Washington and New York begin a four-game set at Nationals park on Friday night.
  • The Mets sit atop the NL East standings, while Washington has disappointed thus far, seven games back of first place.
  • Matthew Trebby explains, below, why he's backing the Nationals, despite their location in the standings.

Mets vs. Nationals Odds

Mets Odds -105
Nationals Odds -105
Over/Under 8.5
Time Friday, 7:05 p.m. ET
TV MLB.TV
Odds as of Thursday and via William Hill

The Washington Nationals have won four straight games but haven’t been able to make up much ground on the National League East-leading New York Mets.

Washington will get a chance to do so starting Friday night, when it hosts New York for four games in three days at Nationals Park.

The Mets have been beat up all season, especially offensively, and appear to have avoided a serious injury to perennial NL Cy Young Award nominee/winner Jacob deGrom. They do enter this game with a shorthanded lineup, though.

Washington, meanwhile, has taken hits mostly to its rotation while its lineup hasn’t produced as expected. Friday night’s starter, though, has been a big boost throughout the season. The Nats trail the Mets by seven games, so a series win here would be a big boost with plenty of baseball to be played this season. Washington did start its World Series-winning season 19-31.

Let’s break down the matchup and see which side presents better value for bettors.

Mets Lead NL East Despite Slow Start From Star Hitters

Joey Lucchesi has a -0.3 WAR on the season, although he hasn’t been pitching like it of late.

The Mets are just 1-6 when the southpaw starts this season, although that isn’t totally his fault. Lucchesi has allowed just three earned runs over 17 1/3 innings, conceding a WHIP under 1.00 and .552 OPS against.

Lucchesi’s underlying metrics indicate that it’s no coincidence he has had better results of late. His season ERA is 5.18, although his xERA is 3.67 and xFIP 3.94. He pitched 4 2/3 and five innings in his last two starts against the Padres, so he’s building up his stamina now that he appears to be firmly back in the Mets’ rotation.

New York entered Thursday’s game with Chicago ranked 18th with a .695 OPS. It’s been hard for the Mets to get in much of a rhythm this season at the plate.

New York’s two star bats — Francisco Lindor and Pete Alonso — haven’t gotten going to their normal levels this season. Lindor entered Thursday’s game against the Cubs with a .663 OPS, while Alonso is at .800, which is above average but lower than what the Mets need.

The rest of the order is a mess. Michael Conforto, Jeff McNeil and Brandon Nimmo are on the injured list, as is J.D. Davis. The first three are nearing returns, while Davis just started swinging a bat again.

The Mets enter this matchup having taken three out of four games against the Cubs, outscoring the North Siders 14-7 through the first three games before falling on Thursday night. New York has won eight of its last 11.


Can Nationals Turn Season Around?

Entering this season, Ericke Fedde compiled 4.50 and 4.29 ERAs in 2019 and ’20. His xFIPs for those two seasons were 5.27 and 5.22, though.

In 2021, Fedde has stepped up as the Nats have needed him. He has a 3.86 ERA and 4.01 xFIP through nine starts as Washington has dealt with injuries to the top of its starting rotation. The Nationals are 5-4 when Fedde starts and have won the last two, which saw the right-hander throw a combined 12 scoreless innings.

Washington enters this four-game series having won four straight games, including a three-game sweep of the lowly Pirates. It allowed just four runs against Pittsburgh while scoring three in two of the wins.

Washington’s bullpen took a big hit when Daniel Hudson went down due to a shoulder injury. Its relief corps have a 3.85 ERA this season with Hudson pitching in front of Brad Hand, although Tanner Rainey appears to have regained some decent form.

The Nationals’ lineup hasn’t been much better than the Mets’ this season, with a .702 team OPS.

Most of the regulars in the Nationals’ lineup have been solid, but no one has stepped up this season. Juan Soto’s OPS is just .818 with only eight home runs. Kyle Schwarber leads the team in home runs and RBIs, and Josh Bell is heating up of late.

There’s reason to believe Washington will continue to heat up. Bell was bound to improve, while Soto’s power, according to his track record, is going to increase eventually.

The matchup with Lucchesi could bring success, though. Washington is ninth in MLB with a .762 OPS against left-handed pitching this season.

Against southpaws this season, Trea Turner (1.062 OPS), Ryan Zimmerman (.974) and Yan Gomes (.977) have all thrived. Soto has been solid at .803.

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Mets-Nationals Pick

There’s reason to believe that better days are around the corner for the Mets offensively. Once they get their full choice of options back, they should be able to stay atop the NL East over the course of the season, assuming deGrom can pitch like … deGrom.

For now, though, I’m going to back Washington against a lefty, at least for the first four or five innings. Both teams enter on a good run of form, but the Nats’ bats match up better the New York’s do against a very steady Fedde.

Pick: Nationals -105

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