Mets-Nationals Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated June 05, 2012
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.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Logan Morrison curses out umpire CB Bucknor mid at-bat

Raptors jab Bucks on Twitter after Game 4 victory

Report: NBA GMs not hesitant to draft Lonzo Ball due to father LaVar

DeShone Kizer changes course, stands by Tom Brady-Cam Newton quote

Nick Saban doesn't offer much praise of team for 'adequate' spring game

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Dennis Schroder admits Mike Budenholzer wants him to avoid trash talk

WATCH: Miguel Sano throws punch as benches clear in Twins-Tigers game

Glen Coffee making NFL comeback after four years in Army, seven years away from game

Fan wears Clemson championship gear to Alabama spring game

NBA reportedly investigating incident involving Patrick Beverley, Thunder fan

Blake Griffin out for the season with toe injury; how screwed are the Clippers?

The 'It's not good to play the King' quiz

Best of Yardbarker: David Fizdale and the Grizzlies won't go down quietly

Three Up, Three Down: Home run hitters are heating up

The 'Even the Browns can't mess this one up' quiz

25 times Mother Nature disrupted sports

In some ways, Dan Rooney was just another NFL owner

Box Score 4/20: When Westbrook isn't enough

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

The '♫Happy Birthday Simpsons. Simpsons, it's your birthday♫' quiz

White House championship visits over the years

Biggest needs in the draft for every NFL team

The 'Baseball has been very, very good to its players' quiz

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!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

The 'It's not good to play the King' quiz

Three Up, Three Down: Home run hitters are heating up

The 'Even the Browns can't mess this one up' quiz

In some ways, Dan Rooney was just another NFL owner

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

The '♫Happy Birthday Simpsons. Simpsons, it's your birthday♫' quiz

NBA Referee Hotline Bling: David Fizdale calls B.S.

Kris Bryant can become the next Derek Jeter — and more

The 'Baseball has been very, very good to its players' quiz

NHL youth movement: How the 2016-17 rookie class fared

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker