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The Mets and Nationals play a three-game series this weekend at Citi Field.
Here are five things to watch...
Will Francisco Lindor's bat awaken?
Lindor returned from missing roughly five weeks without going on a rehab assignment, so it shouldn't be a surprise that he hasn't hit the ground running offensively.
In 11 at-bats since returning, Lindor has reached base just once -- on an infield single -- and has been serenaded with boos from the fans at Citi Field after most of those at-bats.
That Lindor was hitting like vintage Lindor from May 27 until getting injured on July 16 (.273 average with eight homers, 27 RBI, and an .851 OPS) clearly doesn't matter to frustrated fans who are incensed with the team's performance and are allowing no leeway for Lindor as he works his way back into game shape.
Can Tylor Megill bounce back?
Megill, who gets the ball on Sunday, had his worst start as a Met on Tuesday -- allowing 11 hits (including four homers) and seven runs in 3.2 innings against the San Francisco Giants.
He has allowed four or more runs in three of his last five starts, and could be tiring since he's already roughly 30 innings beyond the most innings he's thrown in a professional season.
Megill has tossed 100 innings between the minors and big leagues this season. His previous high in innings was 71.2 in 2019.
Perhaps Megill will get through this period, like Taijuan Walker -- who has also had a huge innings increase and has rebounded after a rough patch. If not, it should not erase what Megill accomplished earlier this season.
Will the Mets solve the mystery that is Paolo Espino?
Espino has not been very good this season, with a 4.28 ERA (4.68 FIP) and just 6.9 strikeouts per 9 in 75.2 innings.
But he has bedeviled the Mets, allowing just one run over 7.0 innings in three appearances.
Espino gets the ball on Friday night.
Red-hot Pete Alonso
Alonso is on an 11-game hitting streak, is one homer shy of 30 for the season, and is on pace to finish the year with 37.
He is also two home runs shy of reaching 100 for his career, and will become the second-fastest player ever to reach 100 career home runs if he hits two more within his next 19 games.
Will Edwin Diaz pitch before the calendar flips?
Diaz has been lights-out lately, allowing just five hits and two runs over his last 11 appearances while striking out 15, so it's a shame that the Mets haven't had any reason to use him since last Sunday.
As the Mets were swept by the Giants, Diaz stayed mostly glued to the bullpen bench, briefly getting loose late during Thursday's game in case the Mets tied things or took the lead.
Because of the Mets' ineptitude as they went 2-11 against the Giants and Los Angeles Dodgers, Diaz has pitched just twice since Aug. 13.