WASHINGTON -- The mysteries regarding the trade deadline intentions of the New York Mets and Washington Nationals will finally be solved several hours before they play the opener of a two-game series on Tuesday night at Nationals Park.
Will the Mets (44-59) part with one of their top-four starting pitchers -- Zack Wheeler or even Jacob deGrom -- for a haul of prospects? Or will they stand pat figuring they can contend next season in a National League East that has several good teams but arguably no great one?
Wheeler enhanced his value Sunday with six shutout innings against the Pittsburgh Pirates.
"It's a top of the rotation guy," Mets pitching coach Dave Eiland told northjersey.com. "People can say he's a solid three or four. He's a solid two, and on some nights he's a (No.1 pitcher)."
The questions surrounding the Nationals (52-53) could impact this year's division race. Despite a sub-.500 July (10-14 with one game remaining), Washington is keeping pace with the first-place Philadelphia Phillies.
Do they go all in and trade top prospects for Miami Marlins catcher J.T. Realmuto? Or do they go part way in the other direction, trading one or more of their relievers with expiring contracts? Or do they rock the baseball world and trade Bryce Harper?
The Nationals Park clubhouses will be buzzing Tuesday afternoon. And all that is in addition to Washington shortstop Trea Turner meeting the media for the first time since racially insensitive and homophobic tweets from his past came to light on Sunday.
Turner apologized for his "insensitive and offensive language on Twitter" in statement issued by the team.
"I am sincerely sorry for those tweets and apologize wholeheartedly," he said. "I believe people who know me understand those regrettable actions do not reflect my values or who I am. But I understand the hurtful nature of such language and am sorry to have brought any negative light to the Nationals organization, myself or the game I love."
Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo said in a statement he had spoken to Turner about the tweets.
Weather and roster moves permitting, Mets left-hander Steven Matz (5-8, 3.79 ERA) will oppose right-hander Tanner Roark (4-12, 4.55) on Tuesday night.
Roark picked up his first win since June 6 with a stellar eight-inning effort against the Milwaukee Brewers his last time out. He allowed no runs and three hits while striking out 11 and walking one.
"(I was) just slow, slower. Try to think not to be too quick to the plate," Roark told the Washington Post. "I had to let my foot, my leg, fire before I go. Unless I get behind the ball, it's flat."
Roark had allowed four or more earned runs in five of his previous six starts.
The Nationals have lost all three of Roark's starts against the Mets this season, with the right-hander allowing 11 runs in 17 innings. For his career, Roark is 7-3 with a 3.30 ERA in 20 games, 14 of them starts.
Matz has allowed nine runs in 11 innings of his last two starts. He gave up four runs and three hits in six innings against the Pirates in his most recent outing. He struck out nine and walked two in a 12-6 Mets win and retired the final 10 batters he faced.
"I definitely felt like I settled in," Matz, who noted that he was sluggish while warming up before the game, told Newsday. "It was almost like I got a little tired and I was able to stay smooth instead of muscle up a little bit. And that works for me. It helped me out for sure."
He has allowed six earned runs in 15 innings of three starts against Washington this season. Matz is 1-3 with a 2.64 ERA in seven starts against the Nationals.