Nationals-Mets Preview

The Washington Nationals should be thrilled to have five games remaining at Citi Field this season.

Pitching on the road, though, hasn’t made Stephen Strasburg happy at all.

Seeking a franchise-record 11th consecutive road win against the New York Mets, the Nationals also will try to help Strasburg earn a rare victory away from the nation’s capital Thursday night.

Washington (65-53) has continued its remarkable success at Citi Field with wins in the first two games of this series.

That’s pushed the Nationals’ win streak at New York (57-64) to 10, during which they’ve outscored the Mets 70-20. It’s the longest active run by a visiting team at any venue and also matches the franchise record set by the Montreal Expos against the Chicago Cubs from 1982-83.

Washington is 24-4 in its last 28 games in Queens and will visit again Sept. 11-14.

”This is a tough one because they gave us a chance to beat them tonight,” Mets manager Terry Collins said.

After a brilliant performance by Doug Fister in the series opener, Jordan Zimmermann was almost as good in Wednesday’s 3-2 victory. He allowed one unearned run in 6 1-3 innings and Rafael Soriano survived a shaky ninth as the Nationals overcame three errors to win for the fifth time in seven games.

”Come out of here kind of feeling like you stole one,” Adam LaRoche said. ”Luckily our pitchers in a few innings made some big pitches when we needed them. Kind of bailed our defense out, which has been pretty solid.”

Strasburg (8-10, 3.68 ERA) will be tasked with helping Washington complete a 4-2 road trip, but his only win away from home this season came June 9.

The right-hander is 0-5 with a 6.29 ERA in six road starts since. He allowed seven runs for the second time during that span Friday, lasting five innings in a 7-6 loss to Atlanta and surrendering four homers – two more than his previous career high.

”Just not executing pitches – that’s the bottom line,” Strasburg said. ”It feels good out of the hand, I’m just not hitting the spot well enough."

Strasburg gave up four runs over six innings on opening day against the Mets in Washington’s 9-7 win in 10. He’s 2-1 with a 2.70 ERA in five starts versus New York.

The Mets have lost four straight at home, scoring six runs while going 1 for 23 with runners in scoring position.

Dillon Gee (4-4, 3.54) is all too familiar with his team’s struggling offense, which has supported him with four total runs in his last five starts.

He had nobody to blame but himself in July, when he went 0-3 with an 8.10 ERA in three starts, but he’s allowed three runs and eight hits over 12 2-3 innings in two outings this month while failing to record a decision.

In one of his best performances of the season, Gee limited Philadelphia to one run and three hits over seven innings Saturday in a 2-1 win.

He opposed Strasburg on March 31 and yielded four runs in 6 2-3 innings. Gee is 7-3 with a 3.23 ERA in 13 starts against the Nationals.

Several of Washington’s best hitters have struggled in this matchup, including Denard Span (.227), Ian Desmond (.200) and LaRoche (.200). Bryce Harper, though, is 4 for 10 with a home run.

Nationals right fielder Jayson Werth will miss his third straight game after he received a cortisone injection for his sore right shoulder.