Max Scherzer (11-11, 2.89 ERA), seeking his 200th strikeout of the season, takes the mound for the Washington Nationals (71-65) as they meet Jonathon Niese (8-10, 4.17 ERA) and the New York Mets (75-61) in the first of a three-game series at Nationals Park. The Nationals go into this series looking to continue a five-game winning streak. The game starts at 1:05 p.m. ET on Monday, Sep. 7 and will air on MAS2 and SNY.

In his last start, Scherzer pitched 6.0 innings, allowing two runs and striking out 10 in a 4-3 loss to the Cardinals. Bryce Harper (.339, 101 Rs, 34 HRs, 83 RBIs, 6 SBs) played well again yesterday, going 2 for 4 with one run, one home run, and one RBI. The Mets were unsuccessful the last time Niese pitched. He did not do well, pitching 5.0 innings, allowing six runs, striking out two and walking two in a 14-8 loss to the Phillies. Yoenis Cespedes (.295, 91 Rs, 30 HRs, 90 RBIs, 7 SBs) has been doing well offensively for the Mets, going 2 for 4 yesterday with two runs, one home run, and one RBI.

Washington is a considerable -183 favorite in this game and the Over/Under (O/U) is set at seven runs. When playing as the favorite, the Nationals have a 57-41 record and overall money line at -1,118. Over the last 10 games, they have a very good record when playing as the favorite (7-2). Washington has averaged 6.1 runs per game over the last 10 games, higher than its season average of 4.4. Washington's pitchers are doing better against opposing batters during divisional games, only allowing an average of 3.3 runs per game, well under their season average of 4.0. The Nationals don't give up many walks to opposing batters, leading the NL with only 2.2 walks allowed per game.

Moving on to the away team, the Mets come into this game in an interesting position. They have won more than 60 percent of games played as the underdog (16-37) but have a negative money line (+986). Against divisional opponents, they are 37-19 SU, but have a 5-8 record when they were an underdog to win. During the last 10 games, they averaged 6.0 runs per game, above their 4.2 season average. The last 10 games have really brought the worst out of the New York pitchers. They allowed 4.7 runs per game during that span, which is higher than their season average of 3.7. They have a WHIP of 1.17, best in the MLB. The New York pitching staff has been an intimidating group this year, averaging 8.1 strikeouts per game.

The Mets have mostly come out on top against the Nationals in their previous 13 games this season, earning a 7-6 record. This game will feature Niese (LHP) on the mound against the Nationals, who have a 17-15 record when they take on a left-handed starter. Taking the hill against the Mets will be the right-hander Scherzer. They sport a 58-47 record against righties.

Predictions: SU Winner - Was, O/U - Over


The Nationals and the Mets hold winning records against the NL East Division this season. The Nationals sit at 33-21 and the Mets have a 37-20 record.

Washington has won 54% (34-29) of its games when leading after 7 innings. However, New York has won 57% (29-22) of its games when taking a late lead.

The Mets are coming off of a hot pitching game where they recorded nine strikeouts. The Nationals have a record of 22-36 when they are struck out that many times or more.

When they outhit their opponents, the Nationals are 56-8. The Mets have a 53-6 record when outhitting opponents.

Ranking 16th, New York sits in the bottom half of the league in runs, scoring 565 this season. Washington ranks in the top 10 at seventh with 600.

Ranking 12th, New York is in the top half of the league in walks, notching 400 this season. Washington ranks in the top 10 at sixth with 446.

The Nationals are 54-33 when they hit at least one home run. The Mets perform similarly when they hit one or more homers with a 50-26 record.