New York (29-24) at Washington (15-39)

Mostly Cloudy Currently: Washington, DC
Temp: 76° F
  • Game info: 7:05 pm EDT Sat Jun 6, 2009
  • TV: WPIX, MASN
Preview | Box Score | Recap

The New York Mets have easily handled the Washington Nationals lineup this season. They have every reason to feel confident again with John Maine(notes) set to take the mound.

Maine, who has settled down for the Mets after struggling early, looks to win his fifth straight start against the lowly Nationals on Saturday night in the middle game of this series.

After allowing a total of 22 runs en route to being swept in a three-game set with Pittsburgh earlier this week, New York (29-24) bounced back with a 3-1, 10-inning win over Washington (14-39) on Friday.

With Jose Reyes (hamstring) and Carlos Delgado(notes) (hip) injured, the Mets desperately need their pitching staff to take pressure off their lineup.

New York has not had to worry about its pitching in seven games against the Nationals this year, posting a 2.81 ERA in winning six of those matchups.

Maine (5-3, 3.75 ERA) faced Washington on May 25, yielding one run and four hits in six innings as New York won 5-2. He has a 1.52 ERA and a .143 opponents’ batting average in four straight wins against the Nationals, and is 7-2 with a 3.79 ERA in 11 career starts against them.

Maine’s last outing against Washington was another strong performance after going 0-2 with a 7.47 ERA in his first three starts. He’s 3-1 with a 2.40 ERA in his last five games.

On Sunday, the right-hander gave up three hits and struck out five through six scoreless innings to earn the decision in a 3-2 victory over Florida.

Francisco Rodriguez(notes) got his save in that contest, and improved to 15 for 15 this season with a scoreless 10th in the opener of this series. Rodriguez, who set the single-season save record last year with 62 for the Los Angeles Angels, has given up just two runs while striking out 28 in 25 2-3 innings.

Washington’s bullpen, which has a 5.74 ERA, stumbled late Friday with Joel Hanrahan(notes) giving up a tie-breaking two-run double to David Wright(notes) in the 10th inning.

Wright had a season-high four hits, raising his average to .338, but hasn’t homered since May 7. He has three homers after connecting a career-high 33 times last season.

“I’m concentrating on trying to get hits,” Wright said. “I don’t consider myself necessarily a home run hitter, so if I go gap-to-gap, if I get my doubles, if I drive my runs in, I’m satisfied with that.”

Wright is 4 for 16 (.250) with no home runs against John Lannan(notes) (2-5, 4.21), who has a 7.20 ERA in losing his last two outings.

The left-hander allowed three runs, four hits and walked four in five innings of a 4-2 loss to Philadelphia on Sunday.

Lannan matched up with Maine last month, surrendering five runs and eight hits in five innings. He’s 1-3 with a 5.79 ERA in six starts versus New York.

The Nationals have not had a starter go more than six innings over their last 12 games, losing 10 of those contests.

Washington’s lineup, meanwhile, has scored just one run in each of its last three contests. Right fielder Austin Kearns(notes) is batting .167 (9 for 54) with no RBIs in his last 19 games.

“I have been out of rhythm,” Kearns told the Nationals’ official Web site. “I’m trying to see the ball and have good at-bats.”

Kearns is 5 for 20 in his career against Maine with two homers, four RBIs and six strikeouts.

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Starting Pitchers

J. Maine Mia vs. J. Lannan Col
7-6 Record 9-13
4.43 ERA 3.88
55 K 89
38 BB 68
1.29 WHIP 1.35

Scoreboard

Saturday, Jun 6