The 11 game win streak is quickly fading into the rear view. The Mets are coming home after a 2-4 road trip to face the surging Washington Nationals for a four game set. While it’s still early and a lot of baseball games are left to play, I get the feeling this is a series that will set a tone for the Mets. They may still sit in first place with a 15-7 record and a perfect mark at home, but they can’t take any inning, game, or series lightly. While the Nationals stumbled at the start, they have showed they can score runs in bunches and with that pitching staff, it was only a matter of time before they take off. If the Mets keep losing series, they won’t be long for first, or any relevancy in the NL East.
Can the Mets get back to the level of play they displayed before heading to the Bronx? While teams are never as good as they play during winning streaks and never as bad as they are during losing streaks, what’s in the middle is what defines who they ultimately will be. The Mets need to take at least 3 of 4 from the Nationals to prove they are true contenders as well as continue to show dominance on their home turf.
Will the Mets offense be able to support their pitching and take some pressure off their starters? It seems almost nightly that the Mets starters are wheeling and dealing and constantly feeling the need to put up zeroes to keep the team in the game. Eventually that added pressure will wear on the starters as without offense, no innings are easy or stress free. In order for starters to be able to pitch deep into games, low stress innings need to be sprinkled in throughout starts or else they risk not only physically wearing their horses out, but mentally breaking them down as well.
Can the Mets continue to establish Citi Field as a place of dominance? We all know that the Mets completed a perfect homestand, going 10/10, but that was then and this is now. While all good teams need to take advantage of teams in a skid, such as the Mets did against struggling Marlins, Braves and Phillies clubs, eventually they are going to face teams with talent or teams on a roll and need to establish that you are in our home and we will roll over for no one. The time is now for the Mets to establish this with the Nationals, especially since they have owned the Mets for the last two plus years no matter where the games have been played.