5 things to watch as Mets and Nationals play four-game series in Washington, D.C.

·2 min read
Jeff McNeil rounds bases after homer home whites
Jeff McNeil rounds bases after homer home whites

The Mets and Nationals will play a four-game series in Washington, D.C. beginning on Friday night.

Here are five things to watch...

Jeff McNeil's potential return

McNeil, who hasn't played since May 16 due to a hamstring injury, could be activated as soon as Sunday against the Nats, which would provide a huge jolt to the Mets' offense.

When McNeil returns, it's possible he gets some time in the outfield, with the Mets' infield of Jonathan Villar, Francisco Lindor, Luis Guillorme, and Pete Alonso humming along.

If the Mets don't use McNeil in a corner outfield spot when he returns, he would likely slide in for Guillorme at second base.

Can David Peterson build off his recent gem?

Peterson was likely one bad start away from losing his spot in the rotation when he took the mound on June 14 against the Cubs at Citi Field, and he rose to the occasion in a big way, firing six shutout innings while allowing just one hit.

Peterson will take the mound on Saturday in one of the games of the doubleheader, when he'll look to keep things moving in the right direction.

Who gets the ball in the doubleheader?

With Joey Lucchesi starting Friday night and Peterson starting one of the games of the doubleheader on Saturday, the Mets will need another starter for the other doubleheader game.

If they want someone who can provide length, options include Jerad Eickhoff (who is not on the 40-man roster).

Thomas Szapucki, who has been hit hard in his last few starts in Triple-A, pitched on June 16 and is not an option to start Saturday.

If the Mets decide to use an opener and have a bullpen game, options to start could include Sean Reid-Foley, Drew Smith, and Miguel Castro.

No Max Scherzer or Stephen Strasburg

The Nats recently placed Max Scherzer on the IL due to a groin injury. Washington is also without Stephen Strasburg, who has been on the IL due to a neck issue.

With Scherzer and Strasburg out, the Nats are scheduled to send Joe Ross to the mound on Friday, followed by Jon Lester in one of the games of the doubleheader on Saturday, and Patrick Corbin on Sunday.

Corbin has struggled this season, but tossed a gem during his last outing -- allowing just one run in 8.1 innings against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Juan Soto remains dangerous

Trea Turner is having a terrific season and Kyle Schwarber has provided some pop, but Juan Soto remains the most dangerous hitter in the Nats' lineup and one of the most feared hitters in all of baseball.

Soto is slashing only .266/.393/.426 and has been cold lately in the home run department, but the Mets need to be incredibly careful with how they pitch to him -- especially with the Nats' lineup tailing off after their top three.

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