After a tough 6-1 loss to the Mets last night, their second loss in as many days, the Nationals look to get back to their winning ways in Game 2 of the three-game series against the Mets tonight at Nationals Park.
The Nationals’ pitching staff has struggled the last two night’s as each starter has given up at least four runs — a rare streak for one of the best rotations in baseball. Fortunately for the Nationals, tonight’s starter has been one of the most consistent pitchers on the staff and should help the team reverse its recent struggles on the mound.
Doug Fister (10-3, 2.68 ERA) has been a dominant force on the mound all season for the Nationals. The right-hander has allowed two runs or less in seven of his last 10 starts and has gone at least seven innings six times over that span, while going less than six innings just once.
In his last start, against the Phillies, the Nationals’ prized offseason acquisition pitched seven strong innings, allowing just two runs on six hits while striking out five. Unfortunately for Fister, the Nationals’ offense didn’t give him much help and the right-hander was tagged with an unlucky loss — only his third loss of the season. In his career against the Mets, Fister is 1-0 with a 1.42 ERA in 6 1/3 innings.
While Fister looks to become the second Nationals starter to reach 11 wins this season, Mets starter Jon Neise (5-7, 3.24 ERA) looks for his first win since June 28.
In three starts since returning from the disabled list, Neise is 0-3 with a 4.74 ERA. Despite earning the loss, Niese looked strong in his last start, allowing three runs over eight innings of work against the Giants. The Mets’ left-hander has pitched well against the Nationals in his career, going 3-1 with a 2.83 ERA in 47 2/3 innings against Washington.
Prior to tonight’s game, the Nationals are 60-51 and lead the Braves by three games and the Mets by seven games in the NL East.
It’s been a slow start to the second half for the Nationals, as the team is 9-9 since the All-Star break and has failed to capitalize on the Braves’ current seven-game losing streak. That said, the Nationals still have a semi-comfortable lead over the Braves in the NL East as they prepare for a pivotal series against them later this week.
Hopefully, if Fister pitches like he has all season, the Nationals can even the series against the Mets and start a decent win streak that’ll help widen the gap between Washington and Atlanta.
Here are the lineups for tonight’s game:
New York Mets @ Washington Nationals, 7:05 P.M. ET
Prior to Wednesday night’s game, the Nationals activated left-handed reliever Matt Thornton, whom the team acquired from the Yankees on Tuesday. In a corresponding move, the Nationals optioned right-hander Blake Treinen to Triple-A Syracuse.