MLB Regular Season

Matchup: Washington Nationals at New York Mets

Date/Time: August 1, 7:10 p.m. ET

Pitching Matchup: Joe Ross (2-3, 3.03) vs. Jacob deGrom (10-6, 2.05)

MLB Betting Odds From BetDSI Sportsbook

Moneyline: New York -140

Total: 6.5

The New York Mets Metsed better than anybody has ever Metsed before on both Wednesday and Thursday, but they made up for it in some way on Friday by adding Yoenis Cespedes prior to the MLB Trade Deadline. If you didn’t know that “Metsed” was a verb, then you haven’t followed baseball long enough. It’s certainly a verb that speaks for itself. But, as tough to watch as Wednesday and Thursday were, with bullpen meltdowns, crying shortstops, and failed trades, the Mets are still in the hunt in the NL East and that’s why this weekend’s series with the Washington Nationals is so big.

Saturday’s game would appear to be a good opportunity for the Mets, as Jacob deGrom opposes Joe Ross. The Mets are a -140 favorite on the overnight lines and should be able to infuse some of their new offensive pieces on Saturday. The Nationals had a quiet trade deadline, picking up Jonathan Papelbon from the Philadelphia Phillies. The best acquisitions that the Nationals made were to get their injured players back off the disabled list. That means that both teams are at relatively full strength on Saturday.

Joe Ross, brother of San Diego Padres starter Tyson Ross, doesn’t have the same kind of slider as his brother, but he still has the potential to be a very effective Major League starter. Ross has a plus fastball already that flashes plus-plus potential and he has been very good in two separate stints in the big leagues this season, with 34 strikeouts and three walks 32.2 innings of work. He has allowed three runs or less in all five starts en route to a 3.03 ERA. His fastball is of the heavy sinker variety, leading to a 51.7 percent ground ball rate.

Ross has shown some trouble with runners on base, though, which is to be expected with a 22-year-old kid making his first trip around the big leagues. With the bases empty, Ross has been dominant with a .208/.238/.260 slash. His numbers with men on base or runners in scoring position aren’t bad, per se, but it’s clear that he has a little bit of work to do with sequencing and command from the stretch. Every starter needs something to work on. One thing he can’t work on is how bad the Nationals have been defensively this season, but the return of some of their key players should help.

The Mets didn’t find a deal that included Zack Wheeler, but it’s the continued success of Jacob deGrom that allowed them to make Wheeler available. The reigning NL Rookie of the Year winner has actually been better this season than he was last season. Over 19 starts and 127.1 innings, deGrom’s strikeout rate has dropped ever so slightly, but his walk rate has improved by almost three percent. It’s hard to find anything not to like about deGrom. All of his pitches grade out above average and his four-seam fastball has been one of the best in all of baseball this season.

It seemed unlikely that deGrom would be able to follow up last season’s performance with as good, or better, numbers, but he has. His minor league numbers flashed some potential, though it’s unlikely that anybody expected him to be this dominant. The Mets have gotten some offensive help with Juan Uribe, Kelly Johnson, and Yoenis Cespedes, so deGrom, who is 10-6 with 4.1 runs per game of support, though one 14-run outburst skews the numbers a little bit.

MLB Prediction: New York Mets

The front office and ownership retained some goodwill in clubhouse after the Carlos Gomez fiasco on Wednesday night that carried over into Thursday. deGrom is unquestionably one of the National League’s top pitchers. Ross undoubtedly has potential, but this is a tough situation for him because Stephen Strasburg is supposed to return to the rotation from an oblique injury and Ross will be the odd man out.