Washington (44-58) at New York (57-45)

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  • Game info: 12:10 pm EDT Sat Jul 28, 2007
Preview | Box Score | Recap

The last-place Washington Nationals are one of the teams the NL East-leading New York Mets are supposed to beat with regularity. That hasn’t been the case this season.

The Mets will have a chance to record two wins in one day when their home series against the Nationals continues Saturday with a day-night doubleheader.

New York’s three-game win streak was snapped Thursday with an 8-4 home loss to Pittsburgh, and Washington starter Mike Bascik limited his former team to two runs in seven innings as the Nationals won Friday’s series opener 6-2.

“We got those runs and I knew the home run couldn’t hurt me,” Bacsik said. “The bullpen was used up. You know there’s nothing you can do about it with a doubleheader coming up. I was happy to give the pen a rest tonight. It worked out great.”

Ryan Church and Austin Kearns homered for Washington (44-58), which has split six games this season against the NL East-leading Mets, and won two of three at Shea Stadium.

Although they are last in the East, the Nationals have improved lately. They have won 10 of their last 16 contests, and will be seeking their second three-game win streak this month in Saturday’s opener.

New York (57-45) remains without star center fielder Carlos Beltran because of a strained abdominal muscle. Beltran, the team leader with 19 home runs, is not expected to play Saturday and could be headed to the disabled list.

“I don’t think he’s going to be on the DL,” general manager Omar Minaya told the Mets’ official Web site. “I still don’t feel that. But to say I’m confident of that? I don’t know.”

While Beltran has missed three games, the Mets got outfielder Moises Alou back in the lineup Friday for the first time since May 12. The veteran finished 1-for-4 with a run scored.

“I have no pain,” said Alou of the left quadriceps he had injured. “From here on, hopefully I can stay on the field for the rest of the season.”

With Beltran out of the lineup, Lastings Milledge will likely take over as starting center fielder. Milledge is batting .458 (11-for-24) with two homers and six RBIs during a six-game hitting streak.

Orlando Hernandez (6-4, 3.14 ERA) seeks his third straight win for the Mets when he takes the mound in the day game. He had won back-to-back starts before he failed to record a decision Sunday, allowing four runs and seven hits over six innings of New York’s 5-4 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Hernandez has been very good at home, going 2-1 with a 2.37 ERA in six starts at Shea Stadium. Since giving up six runs in his first home start of the season against the Nationals on April 14, the right-hander has surrendered only four runs in five outings at Shea spanning 33 innings.

Hernandez is 2-2 with a 3.72 ERA in four career starts versus Washington.

Tim Redding (1-2, 2.92) makes his fifth start of the season for the Nationals in the first game. The right-hander has pitched well since moving into the rotation on July 3, and his coming off his best performance of the season. He scattered five hits over 6 2-3 innings Sunday in a 3-0 victory over Colorado, although he didn’t factor in the decision.

Redding, who has allowed three runs or fewer in each of his four starts, is 1-0 with a 2.30 ERA in three career starts against the Mets, but hasn’t faced them since 2003, when he was with Houston.

Mike Pelfrey (0-7, 6.12) hopes to snap a personal seven-start losing streak when he gets the ball in the nightcap for the Mets. The second-year right-hander will be starting for the first time since July 6, when he allowed four runs over six innings in a 4-0 loss at Houston. He also appeared in relief on July 13, yielding one run and two hits in 1 1-3 innings against Cincinnati.

Pelfrey, who hasn’t won since July 18, 2006, did not receive a decision in his only career appearance against the Nationals on April 13, allowing two runs in 5 2-3 innings.

Joel Hanrahan will make his major league debut for Washington in the night game. The 26-year-old right-hander takes the place of Jason Bergmann, who was placed on the 15-day disabled list Friday with a tight left hamstring.

Hanrahan was 5-4 with a 3.70 ERA and 71 strikeouts in 75 1-3 innings for Triple-A Columbus. He signed with the Nationals as a minor league free agent in November.

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Starting Pitchers

T. Redding TOR vs. O. Hernandez WAS
3-6 Record 9-5
3.64 ERA 3.72
47 K 128
38 BB 64
1.45 WHIP 1.17


Saturday, Jul 28