Posted June 05, 2012 on AP on Fox
The Washington Nationals are sputtering, but they still hold an unlikely lead by the slimmest of margins in the cluttered NL East. It may be even more surprising that the New York Mets aren't far behind. The Nationals will try to reverse a sluggish stretch in the opener of this three-game series against the visiting Mets on Tuesday night. Washington (30-22) and New York (31-24) are two of baseball's biggest surprises through the season's first two months. The Nationals' emergence into a potential division contender has them sitting percentage points ahead of Miami for the East lead. However, the Mets are just one-half game back while Atlanta trails by two and Philadelphia by four in the NL's tightest race. Washington, though, has lost four of five after wasting a two-run first inning to fall 3-2 to the Braves on Sunday. New York also enters this series looking to bounce back, losing 5-4 to St. Louis on Monday after winning the first three games of the series while allowing just one total run. The Mets have still won seven of 10 thanks largely to their rotation, which is 7-0 with a 1.50 ERA while allowing opponents to hit .175 during that stretch. They'll try to continue that success by giving Chris Young his first start since May 1, 2011, as he returns from the same major shoulder surgery that Johan Santana had. Young went 1-0 with a 2.35 ERA in four rehabilitation starts. "I'd say just going in, there was just so much unknown, and there still is," Young told the team's official website. "There's been so much hard work, a lot of time, commitment and dedication. If that's what makes it smooth, then you can call it that, but I wouldn't say its been easy, and I don't expect it to continue to be." Young, though, may draw some inspiration from Santana, who continued to show little rust from his surgery by tossing the first no-hitter in Mets history Friday. "We've had good conversations along the rehab process, and he's always been encouraging and saying, 'Hey, it's going to happen, you'll get there,'" Young said. "To see him going out and having the results and the success, it's inspirational." Young is 3-1 with a 2.63 ERA in six starts against the Nationals, winning both decisions in three visits to Washington. New York was also expected to welcome Jason Bay back from a broken rib, but an illness has delayed his return. The Mets have dropped six of seven to Washington, including two of three at home while hitting .181 and scoring six runs from April 9-11. The two losses in that series came without an injured David Wright, who is among baseball's leaders with a .361 average. The All-Star third baseman is hitting .438 with 19 of his 32 RBIs on the road, and is 10 for 21 in his past six games at Washington. Wright's 735 career runs tie him with Jose Reyes for the most in Mets history. Jordan Zimmermann (3-5, 2.80) is scheduled to get the ball for the Nationals as he tries to win at home for the first time this year. He's received an average of 1.39 runs of support while going 0-3 with a 3.34 ERA in five starts. The right-hander is 0-1 with a 3.52 ERA in three home starts against New York. Bryce Harper, who will face the Mets for the first time, is hitting .386 with three triples, three homers and seven RBIs in his last 12 games.
THE BACKYARD
BEST OF MAXIM
RELATED ARTICLES

Young Set To Return This Week

Chris Young was effective for the Mets last year, but was limited to 4 starts before his shoulder problems began. Over the next week, several Mets are expected to return from injury and rejoin the 25 man roster. One of these injured players is Chris Young. Young, all 82 inches of him, is expected to enter the Mets rotation upon return. Whether or not Young will help the Mets is a...

Chris Young Starts On Tuesday, Mets Rotation Set For Nats/Yanks Series

Manager Terry Collins announced that right-hander Chris Young will make his long anticipated return to the rotation on Tuesday when the Mets begin a big three game series against the Nationals. Young will be on a strict pitch count and is expected to throw between 80-85 pitches, with a limit of 90 according to Collins. Miguel Batista will also be back and will most likely back up...

Wild Game, Bullpen Blows It In 7-6 Loss In Extras To Nationals

Chris Young looked good in his first start since May of 2011, but a comedy of errors lead to a thrilling game that was decided in the twelfth in the Mets 7-6 loss. Game Recap Chris Young coming back to the Mets in his first start in over a year pitched admirably, going five innings while giving up three runs (two earned) on six hits, walking one and striking out two. Young consistently...

Chris Young Faces Nationals In NL East Battle For First Place!

Starting Lineup Kirk Nieuwenhuis, lf Andres Torres, cf David Wright, 3b Lucas Duda, rf Daniel Murphy, 2b Ike Davis, 1b Josh Thole, c Omar Quintanilla, ss Chris Young, rhp The Mets look to build off their successful homestand as they start a road trip tonight in Washington DC. As you know by now the NL East is a close, close division and for the second time this year the Mets get...

PreGame: New York Mets (31-24) at Washington Nationals (30-22)

The Mets open a nine-game road trip tonight in Washington D.C. where they’ll begin a three-game set with the National League East leading Nationals. Just a half game separates the Mets and Nats in the standings, so the outcome of this series will have an impact on how the division looks going forward in June. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. and the game can be seen on SNY...

Mets Activate Bay, Add Beato to 40, DFA Satin and Place Young On Paternity Leave

The Mets have announced that left fielder Jason Bay has been activated from the 15-day disabled list and reliever Pedro Beato from the 60-day disabled list. To make room for Jason Bay on the roster, the Mets have placed pitcher Chris Young on paternity leave. Meanwhile, the Mets designated Josh Satin for assignment to clear a spot for Pedro Beato. So in the last 24 hours,...

Game Preview: Mets @ Nationals

The Mets look to build off their successful homestand as they start a road trip tonight in Washington DC. As you know by now the NL East is a close, close division and for the second time this year the Mets get a shot at the Washington Nationals. Tonight Chris Young will make his debut for the Mets as he takes on Jordan Zimmermann. The Mets hope their search for a fifth starter ends...

Preview: Mets vs. Nationals at 7:05 PM EDT

The New York Mets (31-24) will kick-off a three-game series tonight against the Nationals (30-22) at Nationals Park in Washington D.C..First pitch will be at 7:05 PM EDT. Tonight’s lineups, thanks to Kevin Burkhardt’s picture of tonight’s lineup card: Tonight’s Pitching Probables: Chris Young (1-0, 1.88 ERA in 2011) will start for the Mets. Jordan Zimmermann (3-5, 2.80...

Mets Minors: Collin McHugh ready for the next step

The Mets have a lot of pitchers in their system that seem to succeed despite being later draft picks.  Collin McHugh is one such example.  Drafted in the 18th round of the 2008 draft, McHugh left college for the big leagues. When I look back at McHugh’s time with the Mets it’s hard for me to find too much to fault.  He signed quickly and played in Rookie Ball back in 2008...

Daily Notes | More Bullets

Chris Young will be making the start for the Mets tonight at Washington. He is 13 months removed from the same shoulder surgery that Johan Santana and Mark Prior have had. He has had 4 rehab starts, three in Single A where he pitched a 3.18 ERA and then 6 scoreless in his last start at AAA. He is expected to max out at 80 or 85 pitches today. I've grabbed him as a lotto ticket...

What You Need to Know: Wednesday, June 6 by Daniel Rathman

The Tuesday Takeaway After five innings of last night’s series opener between the Mets and Nationals, the home team led 3-0 and the game story was simple: Jordan Zimmermann outshines Chris Young in Young’s 2012 debut, as Washington extends its NL East lead. That last clause still rang true at the end of the 12-inning marathon, but by the time the Nats walked off with a 7-6...
MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.