Washington (14-32) at New York (25-20)

Mostly Cloudy Currently: New York, NY
Temp: 78° F
  • Game info: 7:10 pm EDT Wed May 27, 2009
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The New York Mets appear to finally be producing offensively when Johan Santana(notes) takes the mound. The ace probably wishes they would shore up the defense as well.

Santana looks to win a third consecutive start Wednesday night and help the Mets complete a three-game sweep of the hapless Washington Nationals.

The Mets (25-20) have provided Santana (6-2, 1.50 ERA) with 12 runs of support to help him win his last two starts. That’s one more run than they managed in his first seven outings of the season, when he went 4-2 with a 0.78 ERA.

New York is among the worst defensive clubs in baseball with 35 errors, 12 of them coming in Santana’s starts with seven in his last three.

“After a mistake or error, you try and bounce back and get the next guy,” Santana said.

The two-time Cy Young Award winner overcame three errors Friday, allowing three runs - two earned - and seven hits with eight strikeouts in seven innings of a 5-3 win at Boston.

“It’s just another impressive performance for him,” Mets manager Jerry Manuel said. “I do hope at some point we play a real, real crisp game behind him.”

Lately, the Mets have been better defensively, winning three of their last four games without a miscue to match their longest streak of the season. They did it again Tuesday, and got a complete game from Livan Hernandez(notes) to beat Washington 6-1 after taking Monday’s series opener 5-2.

The complete game was the club’s first since Santana threw a three-hitter in a 2-0 win over Florida on Sept. 27.

New York has won 10 of the last 13 meetings with the Nationals (13-32), including five of six at home. However, the club hasn’t swept them in a three-game series since April 15-17, 2008.

Since joining the Mets in a five-player trade from Minnesota prior to the start of the 2008 season, Santana has won all four of his starts against the Nationals with a 2.33 ERA and 28 strikeouts in 27 innings. He beat them again on April 24, yielding one run and six hits while fanning 10 in six innings of a 4-3 victory at Citi Field.

The Mets put All-Star shortstop Jose Reyes and outfielder Ryan Church(notes) on the disabled list Tuesday, and said All-Star center fielder Carlos Beltran(notes) would sit out until the weekend because of a bone bruise below his right knee.

To fill one of the spots, highly touted outfielder Fernando Martinez(notes) was promoted from Triple-A Buffalo. Martinez, 20, went 0 for 3 with a walk in his major league debut.

The Nationals own the worst record in baseball, are have managed only three wins in 17 games since a season-high three-game winning streak May 7-9.

They hope Jordan Zimmermann(notes) (2-1, 5.71) can give them another quality start.

The right-hander, who turned 23 Saturday, allowed two runs and six hits with seven strikeouts in seven innings, while the offense generated four hits in a 4-2, 12-inning loss to Baltimore on Friday.

“He threw the ball very well,” Nationals manager Manny Acta told the team’s official Web site. “He was very aggressive. His fastball has serious life. It showed because he basically manhandled all those lefties. He had a good tempo, good fastball, good slider for him.”

Despite that solid performance, Zimmermann is 0-1 with a 6.98 ERA in his last five starts after starting the season by winning his first two with a 2.38 ERA.

One of his victories, though, came at New York on April 26, when he gave up one run and six hits in 5 1-3 innings of an 8-1 win.

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Starting Pitchers

J. Zimmermann Was vs. J. Santana Tor
3-5 Record 13-9
4.63 ERA 3.13
92 K 146
29 BB 46
1.36 WHIP 1.21


Wednesday, May 27