Game of the day: Nationals at Mets


USA TODAY Sports

Washington Nationals at New York Mets (-134, 6.5)

The New York Mets have a chance to move into a tie for first place in the National League East on Sunday night when they host the division-leading Washington Nationals in the finale of a three-game series. The Mets have recorded a pair of one-run victories and can post their first three-game sweep of Washington since May 25-27, 2009.

Lucas Duda overshadowed the New York debut of newly acquired Yoenis Cespedes (0-for-3) by continuing his power surge with a pair of solo homers and a tiebreaking RBI double following an intentional walk to Cespedes. Duda has eight blasts over his past seven games and took over the major-league lead with a fifth multi-homer game. Shortstop Ian Desmond, who was 5-for-9 in a three-game series against the Mets last month, had a two-run single as the Nationals failed to score more than a pair of runs for the fifth time in six games. Washington right-hander Jordan Zimmermann attempts to prevent a sweep as he opposes New York rookie Noah Syndergaard.

TV: 8:08 p.m. ET, ESPN

LINE HISTORY: Books opened the Mets -137, but that has moved to -134. The total opened at 6.5.

WHAT CAPPERS SAY: “The Nationals were a 5/1 favorite to win the World Series when this season began, and a heavy 1/5 favorite to win their division, but now they find themselves just one game ahead of the Mets entering Sunday’s game. The Nationals still might win the World Series if they make the playoffs as Washington has an excellent pitching staff, but a weak offense is hurting the team right now in the long grind of the regular season. The Nationals have scored two runs or less in five of their past six games overall.” Covers Expert Steve Merril.

HOT FAN WAR:


PITCHING MATCHUP: Nationals RH Jordan Zimmermann (8-6, 3.36 ERA) vs. Mets RH Noah Syndergaard (5-5, 2.70)

Zimmermann did not factor in the decision after giving up three runs in seven innings versus the Mets on July 22 and was saddled with a loss six days later after he was reached for three runs over six innings at Miami. Zimmermann won his last three starts heading into the All-Star break but is winless over his last three turns. He beat the Mets with six innings of one-run ball in his season debut to improve to 8-5 against them.

Syndergaard was perfect through six innings in his last start and wound up tossing eight scoreless innings of three-hit ball in a 4-0 victory over San Diego. He did not factor in the decision in his previous turn versus Zimmermann and the Nationals despite giving up one run over five innings, a start marred by a season-high five walks. Syndergaard has been superb at home with a 5-1 record and 1.46 ERA in seven starts at Citi Field.

TWEET BEAT:

TRENDS:

* Home team is 6-0 in Baker’s last six games behind home plate.
* Nationals are 8-1 in Zimmermann’s last nine Sunday starts.
* Mets are 4-0 in Syndergaard’s last four home starts.
* Under is 5-0 in the last five meetings in New York.

COVERS CONSENSUS: Fifty-eight percent of bettors are backing the Mets.

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