The New York Mets (19-21) bring their traveling circus up to the Nations Capital for a two game set with the Nationals (20-20). The first game has an intriguing pitching match up as Livan Hernandez with his 4-2 record and 1.46 ERA goes up against knuckle baller R.A. Dickey, who will be making his season debut with the Mets. Game 2 will feature the struggling John Maine against Luis Atilano.
Dickey has been putting up some pretty impressive numbers in the minors this season with a 4-2 record and a 2.23 record in 8 starts, one of them a complete game one-hitter...with that one hit came from the lead off batter. The Mets hope to use Dickey similar to the way Boston uses fellow knuckle baller Tim Wakefield, by having him make starts when necessary but also taking advantage of his rubber arm by having him come out of the bullpen.
For the second game of the series the Mets will send out John Maine, who in his last start in Miami, opened the game by throwing 12 straight balls out of the strike zone...that's right, 12 straight balls. It is a miracle Maine is still in the rotation after the dismal outings he has put together this season. The problem with Maine is that he is easily rattled on the mound. After starting his last outing with 12 straight balls, Maine and everyone else knew that there was no way he could come back from that, frustration takes over and the disappointment is simply just too much to overcome.
What is up with David Wright? I just haven't seen anything from him that gives me any confidence in a big spot. Last night in Atlanta, not only did he strike out (once again) with 2 outs and the go ahead run on third, but then in the bottom of the inning he threw the ball away into right field allowing the Braves winning run to score. For someone with two gold gloves, he sure makes me nervous on the most routine of plays. Wright has recently been getting into bad habits in the field by backhanding balls to his right and can send the easiest of throws anywhere on the diamond.
After a disappointing end to the Braves series, where former Met closer Billy Wagner got the win in the final game, New York really needs to come out and put up a fight against Washington. These are not the push over Nationals we used to know, they are a legitimate baseball team on the rise and will stay competitive for the large part of the season. This may be the last time the Mets face the Nats in their pre-Stephen Strasburg era, so it would be best for the Amazins' to take advantage of Washington while they still can.