Washington (67-87) at New York (93-61)

Cloudy Currently: New York, NY
Temp: 57° F
  • Game info: 1:10 pm EDT Sun Sep 24, 2006
  • TV: MASN, WPIX
Preview | Box Score | Recap

The last time Steve Trachsel took the mound, he helped the New York Mets clinch their first NL East title since 1988. Now he will try to help them build some momentum as the postseason approaches.

The Mets look for back-to-back wins when they continue a four-game series with the Washington Nationals at Shea Stadium on Sunday.

Trachsel (15-7, 4.96 ERA) has his first scoreless outing of the year and tied a season low by allowing only three hits over 6 1-3 innings Monday in a 4-0 division-clinching victory over Florida. The veteran right-hander, who signed with New York in December 2000, became just the fifth pitcher to win a division clincher for the Mets (93-61).

“That was the whole point of me coming over here,” said Trachsel of making the playoffs. “It took a little longer than I hoped, but now that we’re here, we’ve got to make the best of it and get this thing finished.”

With 66 wins in six seasons for the Mets, Trachsel is the team’s winningest pitcher this decade. He also needs one more victory to match his career-high win total for a single season, which he set in 2003.

Trachsel is 10-5 with a 3.35 ERA in 26 career with versus the Nationals (67-87), including going 3-1 with a 1.93 ERA in his last seven starts.

In his only meeting with Washington this season, Trachsel allowed one run and five hits over 6 2-3 innings, but didn’t receive a decision in the 3-1 victory on Aug. 13.

He will be backed by a lineup which erupted for 17 hits in a 12-6 win over Washington on Saturday to snap a three-game losing streak. David Wright had for three hits, including a three-run homer in New York’s six-run fifth inning as the Mets rallied from a four-run deficit.

Paul Lo Duca also homered in his return to the lineup after missing two games with a thumb injury and Jose Reyes went 3-for-3 with three RBIS for the Mets, who scored their most runs since July 16.

New York had scored three or fewer runs in seven of its previous eight games.

“We had been a little stagnant the last couple of days,” Mets manager Willie Randolph said. “That happens, that’s the way baseball is. Guys were a little more aggressive today, taking advantage of some of the momentum we had.”

The Nationals’ lineup suffered a huge loss Saturday when first baseman Nick Johnson broke his right leg after colliding with right fielder Austin Kearns. Johnson, who was hitting .290 with 23 homers and 77 RBIs this season, was scheduled to have surgery Saturday night in New York.

“You sit there and see a teammate and a friend on the ground yelling in pain,” Kearns said. “It makes you sick to your stomach. I’m just sick to my stomach, I don’t know anything else to say.”

Tony Armas (8-12, 5.22) tries to avoid losing his fifth straight decision when he takes the ball for Washington. The right-hander is 0-4 with a 7.33 ERA over his last six starts, lasting more than six innings in just two of those outings.

He allowed three runs and six hits over 6 2-3 innings in a 6-1 loss to Atlanta on Monday. Armas, who has only one win in his last 11 starts spanning two months, walked three and struck out four.

Armas has pitched well in both outings against the Mets this season, however, allowing three runs—two earned—through 13 innings while walking two and striking out nine. He is 0-1 in those two outings, though, as the Nationals scored only two runs in support.

Armas is 5-4 with a 3.00 ERA in 12 career starts versus the Mets.

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Starting Pitchers

T. Armas Atl vs. S. Trachsel Bal
9-12 Record 15-8
5.03 ERA 4.97
97 K 79
64 BB 78
1.50 WHIP 1.60

Scoreboard

Sunday, Sep 24