Mets-Nationals Preview

With their offense playing better, the New York Mets hope to
climb out of last place in the NL East during a six-game road
trip.

Facing the team that’s finished in last three years running may
be a good way to accomplish that.

The Mets seek their fifth straight victory when they open a
three-game series at the Washington Nationals on Tuesday.

After losing nine of 10, including the first two of a six-game
homestand, New York (9-13) has rebounded by winning a season-high
four in a row, sweeping a three-game series against Arizona over
the weekend.

“It was a good homestand for us,” third baseman David Wright
told the Mets’ official website after Sunday’s 8-4 win. “We got to
4-2 – kind of a weird way – but we got there. It’s good for any
two-series stretch. I guess you get kind of greedy and hope that we
could have gotten five, but we’ll take four.”

New York has scored 27 runs and hit nine homers during the
four-game winning streak. Over the previous 10 games, the Mets
averaged 3.1 runs and had five home runs.

Wright is 6 for 14 with three homers – two Sunday – and six RBIs
in the last four games, after going hitless with nine strikeouts in
the five previous contests.

Fellow corner infielder Ike Davis is also swinging a hot bat,
batting .417 with three homers and seven RBIs during a seven-game
hitting streak.

Washington (10-11) has slowed down after winning eight of 11,
losing four of its last five. The Nationals dropped two of three at
Pittsburgh, losing the finale 4-2 on Monday in a makeup of a Friday
rainout.

Washington, which has totaled seven runs in its last four
losses, managed only five hits Monday.

“I know the players are a little frustrated with the hitting,”
manager Jim Riggleman said. “I know I’m repeating myself, but we’ve
got to win the ballgame anyway. We can’t only win when we hit.”

Left fielder Michael Morse, who had five hits in the first two
games of the weekend, went 0 for 4 with three strikeouts in the
finale at Pittsburgh.

The Nationals hitters didn’t have any more success earlier this
month against New York’s Chris Young (1-0, 1.46 ERA), who returns
to the mound for the first time since facing Washington on April
10.

Young was placed on the 15-day disabled list with right biceps
tendinitis after giving up one run and one hit over seven innings
of a 7-3, 11-inning loss.

The 6-foot-10 right-hander has been outstanding against the
Nationals, going 3-1 with a 2.18 ERA lifetime against them.

He’ll be opposed by Jordan Zimmermann (1-3, 3.70), who has
dropped consecutive starts since beating the Mets on April 8, when
he yielded two runs in 5 1-3 innings of a 6-2 victory.

The right-hander allowed season highs of five runs and eight
hits Wednesday in six innings of a 5-3 loss at St. Louis.

The Mets, who dropped two of three at home to the Nationals from
April 8-10, will also face Philadelphia during their road trip.