New York Mets (53-59) at Washington Nationals (60-50), 7:05 p.m. (ET)
08/05/2014 9:29 AM
08/05/2014 9:35 AM
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Washington Nationals are looking to solidify their standing atop the National League East, and they could scarcely find a better opponent while doing so than the New York Mets.
The Nationals will attempt to continue a recent run of dominance against the Mets on Tuesday night, when they meet New York in the first of three games at Nationals Park.
Washington, which leads the East by three games over Atlanta, has won 10 of its last 11 games against the Mets thanks to an offense that's yielded 6.0 runs per game and a .296 batting average, and a pitching staff that's posted a 2.70 earned run average.
The Nationals will face the Mets 13 times between now and the end of the season.
New York attempts to end the run behind right-hander Zack Wheeler, who's unbeaten in his last six starts while winning three decisions and compiling a stingy 1.63 ERA.
He threw 112 pitches in 6 2/3 innings in his last start on Wednesday, but nonetheless emerged with an 11-2 win over the Philadelphia Phillies.
"You saw a guy battle without his best command," manager Terry Collins said.
The success hasn't translated to the Nationals, however, who've beaten Wheeler in four of five meetings while Wheeler has compiled a 4.75 ERA.
New York's bats haven't exactly been red hot lately, as evidenced by a .144 team average and eight runs scored in a four-game series with San Francisco that ended Monday.
Washington starts lefty Gio Gonzalez, who's 6-1 with a 2.45 ERA in his last eight meetings with the Mets. The loss was in the most recent matchup, however, when he was nicked for five runs on seven hits in three innings of a 5-2 loss.
He's skidded against all opponents recently, losing three decisions in his last four starts.
In his last outing, on Thursday against Philadelphia, he lasted just 3 2/3 innings and allowed eight hits and five runs.
"A lot of pitches right in the middle of the zone," catcher Wilson Ramos said. "That was a problem. A lot of pitches up in the zone, too."
On Monday in New York, Pablo Sandoval doubled home the go-ahead run with two outs in the ninth inning, as the San Francisco Giants rallied to beat the Mets, 4-3.
Daniel Murphy hit a two-run homer and Juan Lagares had three hits for New York.
In Washington, Caleb Joseph homered and matched a career-high with three runs batted in as the Baltimore Orioles rallied to a 7-3 win over the Nationals.
Tanner Roark (11-7) was charged with five runs on seven hits in 6 1/3 innings to take the loss, something the 27-year-old hasn't done in exactly a month. The right-hander had won his last four starts, pitching seven innings of one- run ball in all four. His last loss came on July 4 against the Cubs.
The game was played to make up for a rainout on July 8.