For a team that has been struggling to elevate its record above .500 as the Washington Nationals (39-39) have this year, a matchup against a team with a record well below the even mark – as the New York Mets’ (32-43) record is – is always a welcome point in the schedule.
The Nationals are 2-3 against the Mets so far this year, and will be aiming to push that record in their favor during this three-game series in New York.
The Mets are 10-13 in June, but won their last two in a row against the Chicago White Sox and Colorado Rockies. The Mets, like the Nationals, have also had trouble generating momentum, and have not won more than two games in a row since sweeping a four-game series against their rival New York Yankees in late May.
On Friday, the Mets will be aiming to win three in a row for the first time in a month as their ace Matt Harvey and his NL-leading 2.05 ERA takes the mound against the Nationals for the second time this season. Harvey held the Nats to one run on four hits with seven strikeouts in his first faceoff with them, so the Nationals will be looking to redeem themselves the second time around.
In a season pockmarked with injuries, the Nationals have seen several exciting prospects come up and contribute on the big league level, including Anthony Rendon, Ian Krol, Nathan Karns and others.
This weekend, the Nats are likely going to turn to yet another new face to start at Citi Field in place of injured Dan Haren.
Though the team has not yet made an official announcement, it has been suggested by manager Davey Johnson and other team sources that the Nationals’ No. 17 prospect Taylor Jordan will probably make his Major League debut during this series in New York.
Jordan has split time between Class A Potomac and Double-A Harrisburg this season, and has been outstanding for both clubs. At Potomac he pitched for a 1.24 ERA with 29 strikeouts and just six walks in 36 and one-third innings. After moving up a level to Harrisburg, he performed even better, earning a 0.83 ERA in 54 innings with nine walks and 43 strikeouts.
Harrisburg pitching coach Paul Menhart has every confidence that Jordan can continue that record of success at the big league level, according to MLB.com.
"If he goes, I think he'll perform similar to the way he's done here. I don't think the level is going to dictate his effort or his angst," Menhart said. "He's the kind of kid that I think has no pulse when he pitches. He's that kind of special, where he does have that ability to go pitch to pitch and focus on that particular pitch at that time. So just because it's the big leagues or whatever, I don't think it really matters to this kid."
Jordan has held his minor-league opponents to a .208 batting average this year. While there is certainly a sizeable difference between Double-A and MLB hitters, the Mets are owners of baseball’s worst team batting average (.229), which can serve as a little boost of confidence for the rookie as he steps on a major-league pitching mound for the first time.
In The Zone
Adam LaRoche (1B) .412 AVG, .524 OBP, .588 SLG, 1 HR, 4 BB (last five games)
Eric Young (RF) .462 AVG, .500 OBP, .615 SLG, 6 RBI (last six games)
David Wright (3B) .318 AVG, .348 OBP, .636 SLG, 1 HR (last six games)
Marlon Byrd (RF) .227 AVG, .269 OBP, .455 SLG, 3 SO (last six games)
Omar Quintanilla (SS) .250 AVG, .304 OBP, .250 SLG, 6 SO (last six games)
6/28, Ross Detwiler (2-6, 4.18 ERA, .318 BAA, 32 SO) vs. Matt Harvey (7-1, 2.05 ERA, .188 BAA, 121 SO)
6/29, TBD vs. Dillon Gee (5-7, 4.82 ERA, .293 BAA, 73 SO)
6/30, Gio Gonzalez (4-3, 3.31 ERA, .204 BAA, 97 SO) vs. Zack Wheeler (1-0, 3.18 ERA, .200 BAA, 8 SO)