Nationals at Mets
The New York Mets are sprinting off to the best start in franchise history while their three-game sweep of Washington earlier this month sent the Nationals spiraling down the standings. The red-hot Mets aim to secure their 11th win in 12 contests on Monday when they begin a three-game series against the Nationals at Citi Field.
Wilmer Flores played the unlikely hero and allowed the rest of his teammates to get out of the elements with his third career walk-off homer in the ninth inning of Sunday's 3-2 win over Milwaukee. "It was good just to get out of that cold," said the 26-year-old Venezuelan, who begrudgingly was the recipient of an ice-cold Gatorade shower. While the Mets won in the ninth inning, the Nationals were undone in the same frame -- by a familiar face, no less -- as Ian Desmond belted a two-out homer against his former team in Sunday's 6-5 setback versus Colorado. Washington has been outscored 58-38 en route to dropping nine of its last 12, including 17-9 during a three-game sweep at the hands of New York from April 5-8.
TV: 7:10 p.m. ET, MASN (Washington), SNY (New York)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Nationals RH Jeremy Hellickson (2017: 8-11, 5.43 ERA) vs. Mets RH Jacob deGrom (2-0, 3.06)
Hellickson, who will be added to Washington's 25-man roster on Monday, is ready to go after working a pair of extended spring straining league games in Florida. The 31-year-old pitched well for a young Philadelphia squad over parts of two seasons before limping down the stretch in 2017 with a 2-6 mark and gaudy 6.97 ERA in 10 outings with Baltimore. Hellickson owns a 2-4 record with a bloated 7.81 ERA in eight career starts versus the Mets.
DeGrom surrendered just one earned run on four hits for the second time in as many starts this season as he improved to 6-4 in his career versus Washington following an 8-2 triumph on April 5. The 29-year-old walked away with a no-decision in his last trip to the mound despite yielding four runs - including his first homer of the season - in six innings at Miami. Bryce Harper (MLB-best seven homers) is 9-for-26 versus deGrom, but the right-hander has kept Anthony Rendon (2-for-21, six strikeouts) and Michael Taylor (1-for-21, 11 strikeouts) under wraps.
1. Washington won eight of 10 games at Citi Field last season.
2. New York OF Yoenis Cespedes has struck out multiple times in nine of his last 10 games while SS Jose Reyes is mired in an 0-for-16 stretch.
3. Nationals 2B Daniel Murphy (knee), who is a former Met, was scheduled to report to extended spring training on Monday in West Palm Beach, Fla.