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National League Preview from The Sports Network

Friday, May 16th (All times Eastern)

New York Mets (19-21) at Washington Nationals (21-19), 7:05 p.m.

Probable Starting Pitchers: New York - Jonathon Niese (2-2, 2.17) Washington - Tanner Roark (2-1, 3.65)

( - The New York Mets will try to end what's evolved into an eight-game losing streak against the Washington Nationals on Friday night when they visit the Nationals to begin a three-game series at Nationals Park.

The Mets enter the series as the second-worst hitting team in the major leagues, with a composite batting average of .229 that leads only San Diego's .221. They were shut out in each of the last two games, losing, 4-0, and, 1-0, decisions to the New York Yankees at Citi Field.

They sit five innings short of their season-high scoring streak of 23 consecutive innings without a run.

New York hasn't been shut out three straight times since 1992, but, in their eight previous losses to Washington they've hit just .199 and been blanked two times.

Trying to prolong the streak for Washington is right-hander Tanner Roark.

Roark, in his second big-league season, has been stingy at home as of late and hasn't allowed a run there in 22 2/3 innings -- stretching back to last season.

He threw a three-hit shutout against San Diego in his last start there on April 26 and has since pitched two road games, losing, 7-2, at Philadelphia, and getting a no-decision in the Nationals' 4-3, 10-inning loss at Oakland.

The Mets go with lefty Jonathon Niese, who's 3-0 with a 2.47 earned run average in seven career meetings with the Nationals.

He's also 2-0 with a 1.67 ERA in five starts at Nationals Park.

Niese is unbeaten in his last four starts with a 1.69 ERA mark, but has won just two decisions and got no verdict on the last two starts as the Mets managed just four runs.

In his most recent outing on Sunday he pitched six innings and struck out six in a game the Mets ultimately won, 5-4, against Philadelphia.

On Wednesday in Atlanta, Ian Desmond sparked a four-run ninth inning with a go-ahead two-run single and the Nationals defeated the Arizona Diamondbacks, 5-1, in the rubber match of a three-game set.

The Nationals seized control of the game in the ninth. Brad Ziegler (0-1) walked Denard Span, who moved to third on Anthony Rendon's double off the right-field wall with no outs. Jayson Werth then was intentionally walked to load the bases.

Desmond's sharp grounder to left brought Span and Rendon around to give the Nationals the lead for good. Werth and Desmond both moved up a base on Danny Espinosa's groundout and came home on Tyler Moore's single to center.

Werth also homered for the Nationals.

Tyler Clippard (4-2) struck out two in a scoreless eighth to earn the win. Starter Doug Fister surrendered one run on five hits with six strikeouts over seven innings of work.

"It was a big win. Nice series win after losing the last series. Great job by Doug," Desmond said. "(Clippard) came in and did a great job too."

Washington swept the Mets earlier this season.

05/16 10:50:44 ET