Nationals @ Mets September 23 Free Pick


Today marks the start of the second-to-last weekend of regular season baseball in 2017. The playoff races across the league have been lackluster this season, most divisions are wrapped up and those that are not will be momentarily. The Red Sox’ four-game lead over New York in the East is the tightest race going.

The Twins won last night and, coupled with an Angels loss, are now in control of the final postseason spot in the American League. The Rockies’ hold a more precarious position in the NL. Colorado has a been struggling and has both the Cardinals and Brewers close behind. If there’s any team that is in now and won’t be in a week, it’s the Rockies.

In Queens, the Mets are looking ahead to 2018. Noah Syndergaard will pitch for the first time since tearing his lat on April 30 and either inject Mets fans with hope heading into next season or just that much more despair.

Free Pick

Terry Collins’ plan is to use Syndergaard for one inning this evening and then let Matt Harvey “start” the game in the second.

The Mets have received plenty of backlash since announcing this move, as they often do with just about any more they announce. But both Syndergaard and the Mets have wanted this ever since Thor went down nearly five months ago.

Of course, all that really matters is if he is completely healthy. If he is, this isn’t a bad spot to make a brief appearance. The Mets are out of it so it doesn’t matter how he performs. The minor league season is over so there is no other live rehab alternative for Syndergaard, who will pitch once more before this season is out if everything goes well today.

If things do go well, he’ll toss a zero up there in the first inning, but then Matt Harvey takes over.  He’s been just dreadful this season, especially of late. His ERA has ballooned by well over a run-and-a-half over his last seven starts, a stretch that includes just one win.

If Syndergaard can’t get through a clean first, it will not only put the Mets down early, but likely kill any morale that would have otherwise been at Citi Field.

Last night, Dusty Baker gave all of his regulars the game off. The Nationals still nearly won because the young guys are performing either for next season or a spot on the postseason roster. Some of those regulars will be back, rested, this evening and the young guys will factor in here and there.

Stephen Strasburg will also try to tie a career-high with his 15th win. He’s won four in a row and is about to close out a fine, fine season. The Nets don’t have much to play for but they know what time it is and don’t look like a team that’s apt to play sloppy baseball in the last week of the season.

Free Pick: Washington (-130)

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