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National League Preview from The Sports Network
Thursday, July 19th (All times eastern)
New York Mets (46-45) at Washington Nationals (53-36), 12:35 p.m.
Probable Starting Pitchers: New York - R.A. Dickey (12-1, 2.66) Washington - Gio Gonzalez (12-4, 2.93)
(Sports Network) - All-Star pitcher R.A. Dickey has three no-decisions over his last four starts, allowing five runs in each of them.
The slumping New York Mets are hoping it's just a quick funk their All-Star knuckleballer is going through and will send him to the mound this afternoon in the finale of a three-game series against the Washington Nationals.
Dickey has allowed 10 runs in his last two starts -- both no-decisions -- since tossing eight shutout innings in a 9-0 win at Los Angeles on June 29. He recently took the hill in Saturday's 8-7 loss in Atlanta and yielded five runs and eight hits in five innings. Dickey struck out four and walked two.
"Every season has a storm or two in it," Dickey said of his recent struggles. "You just kind of have to stay afloat. It'll turn."
The right-hander is still 10-0 with a 2.17 earned run average in his last 15 starts with the Mets going 12-3 in that time. Dickey is one of four pitchers tied for the major league lead in wins with 12 as evidenced by his 12-1 record and 2.66 ERA in 18 starts. His ERA in 5.19 in the past four outings.
Dickey is 6-1 in nine road assignments this season and defeated Washington on the road back on June 7 in a 3-1 win. He threw 7 1/3 scoreless innings to improve to 3-4 in 12 games (10 starts) against the Nationals.
Meanwhile, Nationals All-Star Gio Gonzalez is one of the four pitchers with 12 wins this season and gets the call Thursday afternoon.
Gonzalez had won four straight starts until he ran into Miami at Marlins Park in Saturday's 2-1 setback. He pitched well, but was slapped with the loss for allowing both runs in six innings of work. Gonzalez is still 12-4 with a 2.93 ERA in 18 starts this season.
The left-hander, who is 5-2 in eight starts at Nationals Park, has only faced the Mets once in his career. In a 3-2 loss last June 22 at Citi Field, Gonzalez did not record a decision and tossed seven innings of one-run ball with eight strikeouts and one walk.
Washington is in position for a three-game sweep of the Mets and posted a 4-3 win last night in the second portion of this series. Jordan Zimmermann struck out four over six scoreless innings and Tyler Clippard received a bit of a scare in the ninth by allowing two homers in picking up his 15th save.
Adam LaRoche hit a home run, Steve Lombardozzi drove in a pair of runs and Bryce Harper finished 2-for-4 with a run scored for the NL East-leading Nationals, who are 4 1/2 games ahead of Atlanta and eight games in front of the Mets in the division standings.
"He's been great all year for us," Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper said of Zimmermann.
Washington improved to 9-3 at home this season against the National League East. The Nationals have been hot this month, going 9-4, and will welcome the Braves to town for four games this weekend.
The last time the Mets lost six in a row was from September 10-15, 2011. They are hoping to avoid the sweep Thursday after almost pulling off a comeback in last night's loss.
David Wright and Jason Bay made it interesting with solo home runs in the top of the ninth, but pinch-hitter Jordany Valdespin struck out swinging to end the game. Wright had three hits for New York, which is just 3 1/2 games off the Wild Card lead in the NL. Wright has reached base in 81 of his 87 games.
Mets starter Chris Young was charged with two runs on six hits over six innings and lost his third straight outing. He walked one and struck out two.
"I don't think we're gonna sit here and feel sorry for ourselves," said Young. "You make your own luck. And we will."
After today's game the Mets will head back to Citi Field for a six-game homestand versus Los Angeles and Washington. New York is just 2-8 in its last 10 games and 0-5 on a current six-game trek. It last lost seven in a row overall from April 10-16, 2011.
The Nationals have won 10 of their last 12 against the Mets, including six of eight so far this season.
07/19 11:09:13 ET
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