Nationals

Quick Links

Nationals find new wild-card competitor: the Mets

Nationals find new wild-card competitor: the Mets

The Mets. First thought when reading that sentence? A bulbous-headed mascot? Turmoil? Mookie Wilson? Flushing? This season’s sweep of the Nationals?

Lots have happened for the Mets. Of late, the main thing has been a resurgence. New York won six in a row and 13 of 14 to show up again in the wild-card race. It is three games over .500 and a half-game out of a wild-card spot.

Yes, the Mets. The team which has lurched through major injuries to Yoenis Cespedes and Robinson Cano. The group managed by Mickey Callaway, who cited out-of-control former manager Billy Martin as a reason why Callaway’s rant against a reporter really wasn’t that bad. The organization which had to apologize this season for including two players in a video montage of deceased players from the 1969 Miracle Mets because they were still alive -- then misspelled the name of one in the apology.

So, how are they here, back to being competitive before hosting the wild-card leading Nationals for a three-game weekend series? A soft schedule has helped. Their recent run of five series wins has come against sub-.500 teams: San Diego, Pittsburgh (twice), the Chicago White Sox and Miami. All those teams are out of it. Miami is the worst team in baseball.

However, something has to be going right to pick up series sweeps and win with such frequency. The Mets’ starting rotation has the best ERA in baseball since the All-Star break. Pete Alonso has hit 37 home runs. Jeff McNeil has hit all season despite not having a positional home. As a result, the Mets moved forward in much the same manner Washington vaulted itself from pulse-free to back in the race: good starting pitching, enough hitting, surviving the bullpen, inferior opponents. 

The schedule is about to flip on New York. Washington comes to town with the best three pitchers it has available -- Stephen Strasburg, Patrick Corbin, Aníbal Sánchez -- lined up. The Mets counter with Marcus Stroman, Noah Syndergaard and Jacob deGrom. A trip to Atlanta follows, a respite against woeful Kansas City is next, then Cleveland, Atlanta, Chicago (NL) and Philadelphia are on the docket before a trip to Washington. It’s a rough run.

But the Mets have handled the Nationals this season, in large part thanks to a four-game sweep in late May which put Washington down and nearly out. The Nationals are 5-8 against New York. They are 9-5 against Philadelphia and 6-6 versus Atlanta. The Mets are the only National League East team with a winning record against the Nationals. 

Which means this weekend is another jolt on the Nationals’ possible ride to the postseason. They dispatched San Francisco to start the week -- proving the Giants out to be non-contenders. Next is trying to kick back the Mets, who always have something going on, it just happens to be positive of late.

MORE NATIONALS NEWS: 

Quick Links

MLB return: Union fires back at owners in latest statement, reject additional concessions

MLB return: Union fires back at owners in latest statement, reject additional concessions

The latest whack of the negotiation tether ball came Thursday night when Tony Clark, the executive director of the MLBPA, issued a statement of discontent.

“In this time of unprecedented suffering at home and abroad, Players want nothing more than to get back to work and provide baseball fans with the game we all love. But we cannot do this alone,” it began.

Clark went on to cite the league’s most recent suggestion of a “dramatically shortened” season “unless Players negotiate salary concessions.” The league suggested a 50-game season would be reasonable for the amount of money players agreed to in salary following a late-March negotiation.

CLICK HERE TO SUBSCRIBE TO THE NATIONALS TALK PODCAST

The statement went on to refer to the league’s stance as a “threat,” as opposed to the players' proposal, which in Clark’s view, was designed to move the negotiations forward. He rattled off the various items in the union’s proposal, which was framed around a 114-game season: more games, two years of expanded playoffs, salary deferrals and the exploration of additional “jewel events” (All-Star Game, etc.).

Clark said a conference call with the MLBPA’s eight-person executive board, which includes Max Scherzer, and several other player leaders concluded “the league’s demand for additional concessions was resoundingly rejected.”

Clark went on to say the players are ready to compete and get back on the field.

The union’s reaction to MLB’s non-reaction is not a surprise. Players are adamant they are not taking further salary cuts. The league solidly believes salaries should -- and need to be -- negotiated if there is to be some form of 2020 season. Everyone continues to wait for a solution.

Stay connected to the Capitals and Wizards with the MyTeams app. Click here to download for comprehensive coverage of your teams.

MORE NATIONALS NEWS:

Quick Links

Mike Rizzo: ‘I am horrified by the murder of George Floyd’

mikerizzo_usat1.jpg
USA Today Sports Images

Mike Rizzo: ‘I am horrified by the murder of George Floyd’

Mike Rizzo released a statement Thursday in response to the social unrest currently convulsing through the country following the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police officers.

“I am horrified by the murder of George Floyd. My heart goes out to his family and friends. I strongly believe that silence is unacceptable and words are meaningless without action.

“Washington, D.C., is my home. The people of D.C. are my people. I am listening. I stand with you, and I am committed to being part of systemic change so every citizen here can say we are D.C. and D.C. is us.”

Rizzo made a statement, first provided to the Washington Post, separate from the team’s statement Tuesday.

Protests are expected to continue in Washington, D.C. this week.

Stay connected to the Capitals and Wizards with the MyTeams app. Click here to download for comprehensive coverage of your teams.

MORE NATIONALS NEWS: