National League Preview from The Sports Network|
Sunday, August 19th
(All times eastern)
New York Mets (57-63) at Washington Nationals (74-46), 1:35 p.m.
Probable Starting Pitchers: New York - Jeremy Hefner (2-4, 4.76)
Washington - Gio Gonzalez (15-6, 3.29)
(Sports Network) - Gio Gonzalez will try to become just the third 16-game
winner in the majors when he leads Washington into the rubber match of a
three-game series versus the New York Mets this afternoon in D.C.
Gonzalez is 15-6 with a 3.29 earned run average in 24 starts and has won two
straight and three of his last four decisions. The All-Star left-hander was
aided by a 14-2 score in Monday's victory at San Francisco and tossed 6 2/3
innings of two-run ball.
He is 1-1 with a 5.23 ERA in two starts against the Mets this season and 1-1
with a 3.63 ERA in three career starts in this series. Johnny Cueto of
Cincinnati and Tampa Bay's David Price both have 16 wins, and the last player
in the Washington franchise to post that many wins in a season was Javier
Vazquez back in 2001 with Montreal.
Gonzalez won 16 games a year ago with Oakland and has recorded at least 15
victories in three straight years.
The Nationals dropped a 2-0 decision on Saturday, when starter Edwin Jackson
served up a two-run homer to Ike Davis in the top of the seventh inning.
Jackson suffered the hard-luck loss and struck out 11 batters with one walk in
"He left a fastball up and away and I hit it on the barrel and it got out of
there," Davis said of his homer against Jackson.
Danny Espinosa had two of Washington's five hits, but the Nationals went
hitless in four at-bats with runners in scoring position en route to the loss.
Washington lost for just the third time in 14 tries and still leads the NL
East by four games over the Atlanta Braves.
The Nationals will open a three-game series versus Atlanta on Monday.
New York is aiming for a series win today and will wrap up a six-game road
trip (2-3). Davis was the hero with his two-run shot and starter Jon Niese
collected the win, as he tossed 7 1/3 scoreless innings and held Washington to
five hits with seven strikeouts and no walks.
"Tonight Niese was the better pitcher," Jackson said of his counterpart. "He
came out and he held us scoreless and the bullpen did the same."
Jon Rauch got the final two outs in the eighth inning and Frank Francisco
nailed down his 20th save in the ninth. The Mets are 1-8-1 in 10 series and
11-23 since the All-Star break, while Mike Baxter has hit in a career-best
seven straight games, going 9-for-25 since August 9.
David Wright still needs one homer to reach 200 and will join former New York
stars Darryl Strawberry (252) and Mike Piazza (220) in that category. Wright
hasn't homered since July 27 at Arizona.
Ruben Tejada went 0-for-4 and entered the game with at least one hit in 20 of
the previous 21 contests. He is 1-for-2 this season against Gonzalez and has
one hit in five career at-bats against the lefty.
The Mets improved to 9-20 against the NL East since a 13-5 mark in division
play, and will return home later this afternoon to start a seven-game
residency versus Colorado and Houston.
Mets rookie Jeremy Hefner draws the start Sunday and is 2-4 with a 4.76 earned
run average in 18 games (6 starts). The right-hander has recorded three
straight no-decisions and tossed two innings in Wednesday's 6-1 loss at
Cincinnati, charged with one run and three hits.
Hefner has lost both of his appearances against Washington this season,
spanning 12 innings with a 3.75 ERA.
The Nationals are 10-4 against New York so far this season.
08/19 10:30:24 ET