Mets look to extend win streak to seven in meeting with Nats

The New York Mets have had things going their way for much of the season, and it seems like things are getting even better for them.

New York visits the Washington Nationals on Monday night to open a three-game series.

“They’re really good concentrators,” Mets manager Buck Showalter said of his team. “It’s fun to watch. There’s a lot of contributors.”

The National League East-leading Mets are coming off a 9-3 victory Sunday at Miami, extending their winning streak to six games.

“We’re just playing really good baseball right now,” Mets pitcher Taijuan Walker said. “The confidence is really high right now.”

With the trade deadline Tuesday, there’s no reason for the Mets to get off track.

“This group stays in reality real well,” Showalter said. “They don’t seem to get caught up in some of the things that are out there.”

The Nationals have enough to handle without distractions related to the trade deadline. Manager Davey Martinez said he’d rather concentrate on the core of players that could lift the organization.

“We got some young guys that are getting better,” Martinez said. “Like I said, these guys (that might be traded), they never fully go away. They’re part of who we are. We’ve had some unbelievable years together.”

The key, from Martinez’s perspective, is to keep the players focused on what they can control.

“We’re really trying to keep them busy, keep them going,” he said. “These guys build really strong friendships with guys. They never want to see their teammates go anywhere.”

The Mets, who are 31-12 against division foes, might be getting stronger through the trade process. Tyler Naquin’s first hit with the team was an RBI triple Sunday, coming in his second game since a trade from the Cincinnati Reds.

Right-hander Max Scherzer (6-2, 2.09 ERA) gets the call for the Mets, trying to match his winning performance from his first game of the season that came in Washington. He’s 2-0 with a 5.03 ERA all-time against the Nationals.

The Mets had bigger pitching news Sunday; Showalter said that Jacob deGrom would return from the injured list to make his season debut Tuesday night.

Left-hander Patrick Corbin (4-14, 6.49) will be Monday’s starting pitcher for the Nationals. Washington lost all five of Corbin’s starts in July, and he was the losing pitcher in four of them.

One of Corbin’s defeats this year came to the Mets as he faced them twice in May. He threw five shutout innings the first time and then was roughed up for seven runs on 12 hits in 4 1/3 innings in the rematch. In his career, Corbin is 5-9 with a 4.51 ERA against the Mets.

The Nationals have juggled their pitching assignments because Erick Fedde went on the injured list over the weekend. But having Thursday off helped the starters stay on a regular rest pattern. Cory Abbott is the likely starter on Tuesday.

Nationals outfielder Victor Robles was held out of Sunday’s game after hamstring cramping the night before. He should be available Monday.

“I figured I’d give him a day (off),” Martinez said. “When he cramps up like that, it knots up pretty good. I talked to him last night and told him, ‘I’m just going to give you a day and get that right.'”

–Field Level Media