Mets hope to end slide in doubleheader with Nationals

National Sports

The New York Mets fell two spots in the standings in three days last weekend. On Wednesday, they’ll try to avoid falling from over .500 to under .500 in a span of just a few hours.

The Mets will get two chances to stop their skid Wednesday, when they are scheduled to host the Washington Nationals in what amounts to an unusual doubleheader.

Heavy rains Tuesday night forced the series opener between the National League East rivals to be suspended with the Nationals leading 3-1 in the top of the second inning. Juan Soto hit a three-run homer in the first while Dominic Smith delivered an RBI double in the bottom half.

The game is slated to resume at 4:10 PM Wednesday and will be followed by the regularly scheduled game, which will last seven innings.

Drew Smith is expected to be the first pitcher summoned Wednesday afternoon in relief of Carlos Carrasco, who gave up the three runs on four hits while facing eight batters Tuesday night.

Paolo Espino gave up two hits in the first inning for the Nationals, who have not announced their pitching plans for the resumption.

The Mets’ Marcus Stroman (7-11, 2.83 ERA) and the Nationals’ Joe Ross (4-9, 4.02 ERA), who were already scheduled to oppose each other Wednesday, will start the seven-inning game.

The Mets entered Tuesday with a 9-15 record since the All-Star Break – a slump that’s dropped their record to 56-55 overall and cost them six games in the NL East standings. New York, which held a 3 1/2-game lead in the division heading into the break, fell out of first place for the first time in 90 days following a 4-2 loss to the Philadelphia Phillies last Friday and slipped into third with Sunday’s 3-0 defeat.

While first baseman Pete Alonso expressed optimism and asked fans to follow suit Sunday afternoon, Mets acting general manager Zack Scott delivered a more urgent message Tuesday afternoon.

“We’ve played very mediocre baseball for most of the year,” Scott said. “This recent stretch has been much worse than mediocre. We would have taken mediocre (in) this stretch. It’s been unacceptably bad and we need to be better.”

The sight of Soto homering to the opposite field Tuesday night surely pleased the Nationals. The superstar right fielder, now Washington’s unquestioned franchise player following the departures of Max Scherzer and Trea Turner, started Tuesday for the first time since hurting his right knee last Thursday.

“He went through his routine,” Nationals manager Dave Martinez said Tuesday afternoon. “He says he feels pretty good, so he’s in there today.”

Stroman took the loss last Friday, when he gave up two runs over five innings as the Mets fell to the Phillies, 4-2. Ross didn’t factor into the decision last Thursday after allowing three runs over 6 1/3 innings in the Nationals’ 7-6 loss to the Phillies.

Stroman is 0-1 with a 7.20 ERA in two career starts against the Nationals. Ross is 3-5 with a 5.58 ERA in 14 games (10 starts) against the Mets.

–Field Level Media

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