The New York Mets are on the brink of falling out of the National League East race after losing the first two contests of a four-game road series against the first-placeWashington Nationals. New York has dropped a season-worst five straight games after blowing late leads in the ninth and 10th innings Tuesday to slip to seven games behind the Nationals. Washington has 21 comeback victories and leads the Atlanta Braves by 3 1/2 games.
The Nationals continue to thrive against NL East rivals. Washington is 19-11 against division foes, including 8-3 at home. The Nationals are moving closer to the return of outfielder Jayson Werth, who could be cleared to resume baseball activities on Wednesday. Werth has been sidelined for more than two months with a wrist injury and expects to be back in early August. Washington shortstop Ian Desmond (oblique), who pinch-ran and played in the field Tuesday, could be in the starting lineup. New York activated outfielder Jason Bay on Tuesday but he was pulled in the ninth in favor of pinch hitter Jordany Valdespin, who hit a three-run homer to put the Mets ahead before the bullpen woes.
Mets Nationals Betting
When: 7:05 PM ET, Wednesday, July 18, 2012
Where: Nationals Park, Washington, District of Columbia
TV: 7:05 p.m. ET, ESPN, SNY (New York), MASN (Washington)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Mets RH Chris Young (2-3, 4.28 ERA) vs. Nationals RH Jordan Zimmermann (6-6, 2.48)
Young has lost two straight starts and worked just three innings while allowing five runs and six hits against Atlanta in his last outing. It marked the first time he gave up more than three runs in seven starts this season. Young took a no-decision against Washington on June 5. He is 3-1 with a 2.74 ERA in seven career starts against the Nationals.
Zimmermann has won three straight decisions and allowed just three earned runs in 26 innings over his last four starts. He blanked the Miami Marlins on four hits over six innings in his last outing. Zimmermann also received a no-decision on June 5 when he faced Young. He is 2-2 with a 3.56 ERA in eight career starts against the Mets.
1. Nationals 3B Ryan Zimmerman was hitless Tuesday, but has seven homers and 21 RBIs over his last 19 games.
2. Mets 2B Daniel Murphy is batting .429 in 14 career at-bats against Zimmermann.
3. Washington 1B Adam LaRoche is just 3-for-25 against Young, but one of the hits was a homer.