Game: New York Mets @ Washington Nationals
Time: 7:05 p.m. ET
Odds: Mets -154, Nationals +144
After an Opening Day win over the Nationals yesterday, the New York Mets will send three-time Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer to the mound to go after win No. 2 tonight. Scherzer has been cleared to go today after missing a scheduled spring training start last Saturday due to tightness in his right hamstring. What makes tonight’s matchup even more intriguing is that Scherzer will pitch against his former team.
Scherzer spent six-plus seasons in Washington before being traded to the Dodgers at the deadline last season. Two of his three Cy Young awards were won during his time as a National and Scherzer was part of the 2019 team that captured a World Series. Tonight, Scherzer will go up against a young, inexperienced Washington lineup. The Nationals’ best player is Juan Soto, the runner-up for the NL MVP last year, who hit .313 last season with 29 homers and 95 RBIs. Other than Soto, Washington could have some difficulties against Scherzer.
The Nationals will counter with right-hander Josiah Gray. Like many of his teammates, Gray is young and unproven. As a rookie last year, he was extremely inconsistent. Acquired as part of the trade that sent Scherzer to Los Angeles, Gray finished the 2021 campaign with a 2-2 record and a 5.48 ERA. This will be his first full season as a full-time starter in the majors.
Gray did have one start against the Mets last season. To say it didn’t go so well is probably an understatement. In just three innings of work, Gray allowed seven hits and six earned runs. He also gave up two home runs. Now, he’ll face a Mets lineup that got a little stronger this offseason.
The Mets added Starling Marte to a solid lineup that features former NL Rookie of the Year Pete Alonso, Robinson Cano, and Francisco Lindor. Alonso went 2-for-4 yesterday and Cano was 2-for-3 with two runs scored. If Gray shows any nerves, it could get ugly for the young Nationals pitcher again.
Historically, the Mets have done well against Washington winning nine of the last 12 games. With the loss yesterday, Washington is now 1-7 in its last eight home games and 0-6 SU in its last six games overall going back to last season. The Nationals have some injury issues as well as their ace Stephen Strasburg is still recovering from thoracic outlet surgery and reliever Will Harris went on the 60-day injured list with a pectoral injury.
Tonight’s total is a big one at 8.5, especially with a guy like Scherzer on the mound. Remember, last season he went 15-4 with a 2.48 ERA and a 0.86 WHIP. He doesn’t give up many runs. Going back to last year, both Washington and New York saw the Under hit in five of their last seven games.