National League Preview from The Sports Network|
Thursday, June 7th
(All times Eastern)
New York Mets (31-26) at Washington Nationals (32-22), 1:05 p.m.
Probable Starting Pitchers: New York - R.A. Dickey (8-1, 2.69)
Washington - Chien-Ming Wang (1-1, 6.43)
(Sports Network) - R.A. Dickey drew the unenvied task of following up Johan
Santana's no-hitter last weekend and put together a solid outing.
This time around, the knuckleballer gets a chance to set the table for his
fellow Mets starter and help New York avoid a three-game sweep at the hands of
the Washington Nationals.
Taking the mound one day after Santana threw the first no-hitter in Mets
history last Friday, Dickey responded with a seven-hit shutout of the
Cardinals for his second straight scoreless outing. The right-hander had
hurled 7 1/3 frames of three-hit ball to beat the Padres on May 27.
"I went to bed last night reminding myself to bring what I bring, whatever
that is," stated Dickey afterwards. "[Santana] did a fantastic thing yesterday
and I just wanted to give our team a chance to win."
Dickey won his third straight start and sixth decision in a row while posting
his third career shutout and first since Aug. 13, 2010. The 37-year-old has
only given up one run over his last 23 1/3 innings and has struck out 38 over
his past four outings.
"When he's got that knuckleball working like he did today, I feel bad for the
hitters," said Mets third baseman David Wright. "I faced him in spring
training, and it's not fun. It makes you look foolish. You look up at the
radar gun and it's high 60s, low 70s miles an hour."
Dickey gets the start ahead of Santana this time around as manager Terry
Collins wanted to give the former Cy Young Award winner some extra rest after
throwing a career-high 134 pitches in the no-hitter. Santana is scheduled to
start Friday's opener with the rival New York Yankees.
First, Dickey will look to improve on his 8-1 record and 2.69 earned run
average through 11 starts this season. He is tied for the major league lead in
victories despite a 4.45 ERA in five road starts this season.
Dickey went 1-3 with a 3.82 ERA in five starts versus the Nationals a year
The Mets encounter a former Yankee hurler today in Chien-Ming Wang, who is set
for his second start of the season for the Nationals.
After missing the start of the season due to a hamstring injury, just the
latest ailment to inflict the former 19-game winner, Wang made his season
debut in relief on May 25, beating the Braves with three innings of work in
which he allowed one run.
The 32-year-old righty was then inserted into the fifth spot in the rotation
by manager Davey Johnson in place of Ross Detwiler and faced the Marlins on
Wednesday. However, he suffered a 5-3 setback and was charged with four runs
on seven hits and three walks over four-plus frames.
Despite the struggles, Johnson isn't thinking about going back to Detwiler
"He's in the rotation," Johnson told his club's website of Wang. "He's
replacing a guy who threw the ball pretty good for me, but I like the upside
of Chien-Ming. ... I know I'm going to get those questions, but Chien-Ming is
a quality pitcher and obviously he had some rust on him."
Wang has faced the Mets five times before and is 2-2 with a 4.99 ERA.
Washington had lost four of five prior to this series, but has taken the first
two contests to open up a two-game lead for first place in the National League
East. After gutting out a 12-inning win on Tuesday, Adam LaRoche homered and
drove in four runs to key last night's 5-3 win.
Michael Morse also drove in a run and Edwin Jackson earned his first victory
in nine starts after giving up three runs -- two earned -- on just three hits
and four walks over seven innings.
"He was exceptional for us tonight," said Johnson of Jackson. "Seven strong
innings and he probably had a little bit left in the tank."
The win was the Nats' fourth in a row and eighth in their last nine versus the
Mets, who fell 2 1/2 games back of first place in the division.
Jeremy Hefner took the loss after allowing four runs -- three earned -- on
seven hits in six innings of work.
"I just didn't get it done and didn't execute my pitches," said Hefner. "They
were hitting balls hard in those first three innings. I thought I did a little
better in the later innings."
Kirk Nieuwenhuis, Lucas Duda and Omar Quintanilla drove in the runs for New
06/07 10:32:57 ET