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Washington Nationals (12-5) at New York Mets (8-10)
Sunday, April 23 - 8:00 PM EST
Citi Field, New York City, New York
The surging Washington Nationals try to extend their winning streak to seven when they visit the slumping, injury-plagued New York Mets on Sunday night for the finale of a three-game set. The Nationals took the series opener Friday in extra innings 4-3 and four pitchers allowed just two hits for a 3-1 victory in Saturday’s contest as the Mets lost for the seventh time in eight games.
Washington’s Bryce Harper was walked three times and went 0-for-2 on Saturday, but led the way through the first five games of the streak with five homers and 12 RBIs while going 12-for-19 at the plate. Nationals ace Max Scherzer takes the mound Sunday after his best start of the season and opposes Zack Wheeler, who showed signs that he is finding his top form last time out. New York placed infielders Lucas Duda (elbow) and Wilmer Flores (knee) on the disabled list Friday and will likely be without slugger Yoenis Cespedes (hamstring) for a least a few more days. Mets outfielder Jay Bruce managed just one hit in 11 at-bats with three strikeouts over the last three games, but he is 3-for-7 with a homer against Scherzer in his career.
TV: 8 p.m. ET, ESPN
PITCHING MATCHUP: Nationals RH Max Scherzer (2-1, 1.37 ERA) vs. Mets RH Zack Wheeler (1-1, 5.52)
Scherzer limited Atlanta to two hits over seven scoreless innings last Tuesday with seven strikeouts and three walks for his best effort of the young season. The 32-year St. Louis native yielded three earned runs over 12 2/3 innings in his first two starts of the campaign and has yet to surrender a home run in three outings. Curtis Granderson is 9-for-27 with two homers against Scherzer, who was 2-1 with a 0.87 ERA versus the Mets in 2016 and is 5-3 with a 1.83 mark in his career against them.
Wheeler was also at his best last time out in a no-decision when he allowed just one run on four hits over five innings with seven strikeouts and two walks against Philadelphia. The 26-year-old Georgia native gave up eight runs and 10 hits over 9 2/3 innings in his first two starts of the season after missing two years due to Tommy John surgery. Ryan Zimmerman is 5-for-13 with a pair of homers versus Wheeler, who was just 1-4 with a 5.86 ERA in five outings against Washington in 2014.
1. Washington OF Jayson Werth missed the last three games with a groin injury, but could return for Sunday’s series finale.
2. Mets SS Asdrubal Cabrera, who has been bothered by a hamstring injury, knocked in the team’s only run with a single Saturday.
3. Zimmerman is 8-for-17 with two doubles, two homers, two walks and eight RBIs over his last five contests.
PREDICTION: Nationals 5, Mets 2