Yes, the Washington Nationals are in last place in the NL East (34-45).

Yes, the Washington Nationals are in a bit of a tailspin (3-7 in their last 10 games).

Yes, Stephen Strasburg can only pitch once every five days and has lost his last two games after a brilliant first two starts. Strasburg hasn't won since June 13. But he was great in a 2-1 loss to the Chicago White Sox on June 18 with seven innings of one-run baseball with 10 strikeouts and no walks. Strasburg got a no-decision that day. Anyhow, the Mets gets to see Strasburg live and in person on Saturday afternoon in the third game of the series.

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Getting back on track here .......... the Nationals, who begin a four-game series against the Mets tonight in D.C., are 20-16 at home (and an awful 14-29 on the road). The Mets are 15-22 on the road. And the Mets are just 3-5 against the Nationals this season.

Point is, the Mets need to take this series and keep pace with the Atlanta Braves, who come to New York next weekend. But the Nationals, despite their last place spot, aren't a pushover. Far from it.