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Sun, Sep 1, 2013 - 8:05 PM ET
 

Mets-Nationals Preview

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The Nationals have had the Mets' number throughout the Davey Johnson era.

The New York Mets look to exact some revenge Sunday with their first three-game sweep of the Washington Nationals since 2009.

Johnson, whose first managerial job came with the Mets and was highlighted by winning the 1986 World Series, has seen his current team fall 7 1/2 games behind Cincinnati for the second NL wild-card spot after consecutive losses to New York - including an 11-3 defeat Saturday.

The Mets (62-72) will try to further damage the Nationals' slim playoff chances behind Jonathon Niese (6-6, 3.69 ERA), who has had their number of late. Since allowing six runs in 4 1-3 innings the first time he faced Washington, he is 3-0 with a 1.07 ERA against the Nationals.

Niese has been pitched well against Jayson Werth, striking him out eight times while allowing four singles in 17 at-bats.

After a rough start to the year, Niese is 3-0 with a 1.93 ERA in four starts since returning from a partially torn left rotator cuff on Aug. 11.

"It's kind of rewarding to know I'm 100 percent now," Niese said after throwing a three-hitter Tuesday against Philadelphia for his second career shutout.

While Niese tries to shoulder some of the load the final month with Mets ace Matt Harvey out for the season, Ross Ohlendorf (3-0, 2.49) is simply trying to prove he belongs in Washington's rotation.

Ohlendorf (3-0, 2.49) has a 2.82 ERA in four starts this season, with his best one coming against the Mets on July 26. He limited them to one run in seven innings with a season-high eight strikeouts but left without a decision as Washington got a 2-1 walkoff victory.

Johnson will surely keep an eye on his right-hander after Ohlendorf hit a wall in his two starts back from shoulder inflammation. Against the Cubs, Ohlendorf allowed three of his four runs in his fifth and final frame. On Tuesday, he held the Marlins to two hits over five scoreless innings before Christian Yelich homered off him to lead off the sixth.

"He's done that now several times," said Johnson, who is 28-14 versus the Mets as Nationals manager. "He just kind of ran out of gas like he did the game before."

Ohlendorf has allowed three home runs in 9 1-3 innings in those outings.

The Mets have scored 25 runs over a three-game winning streak after totaling 13 while losing six of seven.

Daniel Murphy is 9 for 14 in New York's three wins, and the second baseman has a .383 average (23 for 60) against Washington this season.

Travis d'Arnaud, who went 3 for 28 in his first 10 games after being called up, has four hits in his last eight at-bats.

"Just always be ready to hit, because you never know when you'll get that mistake," d'Arnaud told the team's official website. "You see less and less mistakes up here compared to down there."

New York's lineup suffered a big loss on Saturday, however, as first baseman Ike Davis is likely headed to the disabled list with a strained muscle on his right side.

"I doubt we see him," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "2013 is going to go down as a real frustrating year for Ike Davis."

Tagged: Nationals, Mets, Ross Ohlendorf, Jonathon Niese, Ike Davis

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