The New York Mets may have been denied a road sweep with their most recent defeat, but history suggests a chance at another one could come this weekend.
Since the Nationals (55-56) relocated to Washington D.C. from Montreal prior to the 2005 season, the Mets (67-53) have enjoyed RFK Stadium almost like a second home. New York is 17-5 there, winning all six series between the teams, including a three-game sweep in 2005 and a pair of three-game sweeps in 2006.
Additionally, the last three losses have each been by one run. The Mets took two of three games in April in their only appearance in Washington this year.
Glavine (10-6, 4.25 ERA) has contributed to the Mets’ dominance at RFK, going 3-1 with a 2.27 ERA in five starts. He pitched well in his only start there this year, holding the Nationals to one run and three hits in six innings on April 28 in New York’s 6-2, 12-inning victory.
The future Hall of Famer remained stuck on 300 wins after not getting a decision Saturday against the Florida Marlins, having allowed two runs in 6 1-3 innings of a 7-5 loss. Glavine is 2-0 with a 2.92 ERA in his last four starts, and his 32 lifetime wins against the Nationals/Expos franchise are his most against any team.
The left-hander has been particularly good against the franchise since the start of the 2004 season, going 9-4 with a 2.13 ERA in 15 starts.
New York squandered a chance to complete its first sweep at Pittsburgh since 2001 with a 10-7 defeat on Thursday, cutting its NL East lead to three games over Philadelphia. Carlos Beltran hit a first-inning homer as the Mets built a 5-0 lead after three innings, but the bullpen blew a three-run lead over the final four innings.
“When you’ve got your foot on the neck, you’ve got to press down real hard and finish them off,” Mets manager Willie Randolph said. “We’ve lost some tough games here and this was one of them.”
Beltran, who went 6-for-14 with two homers and six RBIs in the series, has hit .360 with four homers and 17 RBIs in 22 games at RFK.
Third baseman David Wright is 13-for-28 (.464) with three homers and eight RBIs in his last seven games.
The Nationals were rebuffed in a bid for their sixth straight series win at home with Thursday’s 4-2 loss to Philadelphia. Ronnie Belliard and Dmitri Young homered in the eighth, but a hamstring cramp suffered by Austin Kearns short-circuited the rally that inning as he was unable to avoid being doubled off second base on Jesus Flores’ line drive.
“I went to go back,” Kearns said. “And when I planted, my foot kind of gave out.”
Matt Chico (5-6, 4.85) will again try to overcome control problems for the Nationals. The left-hander has walked at least three batters in six straight starts, and escaped without a loss despite issuing six in Washington’s 11-4 loss to Arizona on Friday. Chico lasted five innings before the Nationals rallied to tie the game at 4.
Chicago has not pitched more than five innings in any of his last four starts, but the rookie is 5-1 in 13 starts at RFK. The Nationals are 10-3 when he pitches at RFK Stadium, and he has one of the five Nationals home wins against the Mets after yielding two runs and nine hits in 5 1-3 innings of a 4-3 victory April 27.