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National League Preview from The Sports Network



Tuesday, June 5th (All times eastern)

New York Mets (31-24) at Washington Nationals (30-22), 7:05 p.m.

Probable Starting Pitchers: New York - Chris Young (0-0, 0.00) Washington - Jordan Zimmermann (3-5, 2.80)

(Sports Network) - Pitching defined the Mets most recent series. Set to make his first start in over a year, veteran Chris Young hopes to get into the act this evening when New York kicks off a three-game series with the Washington Nationals.

Young slides into the Mets' streaking rotation having not started since May 1 of last year due to right shoulder surgery. The injury limited the 33-year-old to just four starts with New York a season ago and he had put up impressive numbers (1-0, 1.88 earned run average) before getting sidelined.

Young went 1-0 with a 2.35 ERA in four minor league rehab starts, most recently tossing six scoreless innings on Thursday with Triple-A Buffalo.

"I went to Buffalo and I felt good," Young told the Mets' website. "The results were good. The swings, to me, indicated that I could pitch at the next level. To me, that's what I really wanted to see."

The right-hander has faced the Nationals six times prior in his career and has posted a mark of 3-1 with a 2.63 ERA.

The Nationals counter with a right-hander who is capable of putting together dominating outings, though Jordan Zimmermann has struggled to do that as of late. The right-hander pitched to a 1.33 ERA over his first four starts of 2012, but has allowed at least three runs in four of six outings since.

Zimmermann felt two pitches cost him in last Monday's loss at the Marlins. Though he hit his first career homer, Zimmermann gave up four runs on eight hits over six frames of work.

Three of those runs came during a deciding sixth frame as he gave up a single to Hanley Ramirez before Giancarlo Stanton hammered a home run. Logan Morrison had earlier taken Zimmermann deep, but the 26-year-old wasn't as down on that offering.

"Two pitches is what it comes down to for me," said Zimmermann. "The one to Morrison early, the solo home run, I wasn't too worried about that, it was a pretty decent pitch. He was trying to ambush me and then got the barrel out there. But the one to Stanton and then the one Hanley (Ramirez) kind of, you know, two bad pitches and it cost me the game."

Zimmermann fell to 3-5 with a 2.80 ERA in 10 starts this season and is still looking for his first home win of 2012, having gone 0-3 with a 3.34 ERA in his previous five at Nationals Park.

In seven career meetings with the Mets, the former second-round pick is 2-2 with a 3.65 ERA.

New York took the first three games of its four-game series with the Cardinals thanks to outstanding starting pitching. Johan Santana threw the first no- hitter in Mets history to win Friday's opener, R.A. Dickey followed that outing up with a shutout and Jon Niese struck out a career-high 10 batters in Sunday's triumph.

That set the bar pretty high for Dillon Gee in Monday's finale and he was decent over seven innings, giving up three runs -- two earned -- and striking out eight. However, the Cardinals got to the Mets' bullpen and handed the National League East residents a 5-4 setback.

"You want to come back and follow it up with the same kind of performance, but again, I didn't, but I felt like I pitched well," stated Gee. "I feel good about the outing I had."

Scott Hairston hit a two-run homer and Lucas Duda added a solo shot for the Mets, who lost for just the third time in 10 games but also fell a half-game behind the Nationals and Marlins for first place in the division.'

David Wright scored the 735th run of his Mets career in Monday's defeat, tying him with Jose Reyes for first place on the club's all-time list.

The Nationals come into this series with some extra rest, having enjoyed an off day on Monday after wrapping up a rain-shortened two-game set with the Braves on Sunday. Washington split the quick series, dropping Sunday's finale 3-2.

Steve Lombardozzi and Bryce Harper staked starter Gio Gonzalez to an early lead with solo homers, but the hurler allowed three runs on seven hits and three walks over 4 2/3 frames of work.

"I thought he had pretty good stuff, but his command was off," Nationals manager Davey Johnson said. "He really couldn't get the ball in and wasn't using the inside part of the plate. It's a rare occasion where he doesn't have good command and today was one of them."

Washington has won six of its past seven versus New York.

06/05 10:53:23 ET