Nationals (3-5, 2-3 away) vs Mets (4-4, 1-1 home)
Pitching Probables: Washington: Marquis (0-0, 2.84 ERA), New York: Young (1-0, 1.69 ERA)
Entering 2011, it was unclear how much the oft-injured duo of Carlos Beltran and Chris Young would contribute to the New York Mets. It's still early, but the prospects are promising.
Beltran looks to build on a breakout performance at the plate while Young attempts to lead the Mets to another victory Sunday when they host the Washington Nationals in the finale of a three-game set.
New York (4-4) opted to move Beltran to right field this season to limit the physical toll after right knee surgery kept him out for all but 64 games in 2010. More knee trouble forced him to miss half of 2009, so the five-time All-Star's contributions were in serious question entering the final season of his seven-year contract with the Mets.
"The only thing he did during spring training was try to get himself ready for the season. We had a plan to get him ready," manager Terry Collins said of Beltran, who didn't play the outfield in a Grapefruit League game until the last days of training camp.
Beltran broke out in a big way in Saturday's 8-4 win over the Nationals (3-5), connecting for two homers and driving in three runs.
"Every time you do something to help the team is a good feeling," said Beltran, who had gone 4 for 21 while driving in two runs over the season's first six games, including a 6-2 loss in the opener of this series Friday.
Similar to Beltran, Young is a major question mark, but he may have quelled concerns about his three injury-filled seasons with San Diego prior to joining the Mets during the offseason. Shoulder inflammation limited the right-hander to four games last season, going 2-0 with a 0.90 ERA.
Young picked up where he left off Tuesday, yielding one run while striking out seven in 5 1/3 innings of a 7-1 victory at Philadelphia. He also became the first Mets pitcher to get two hits in an inning, while adding an RBI.
Young has thrown 15 shutout innings in winning his last two starts versus Washington, but has not faced the Nationals since Sept. 20, 2008.
Washington starter Jason Marquis, a native of nearby Manhasset, N.Y., looks to continue proving that he's moved past an injury-plagued season.
The right-hander allowed two runs in 6 1/3 innings of a 3-2, 10-inning loss at Florida on Tuesday after elbow trouble limited him to 13 starts last year.
He's 1-4 with a 6.62 ERA over his last six starts against the Mets, but has held Beltran to 3 for 20 with six strikeouts.
The Nationals, hitting .222 collectively, would like to see some increased production from Jayson Werth. The right fielder is 3 for 23 with a solo homer over the last six games after going 4 for 8 in the first two.
Werth is 1 for 17 over his last four visits to Citi Field.
Adam LaRoche, 5 for 28 with one homer and three RBIs on the season, might be back in the lineup after getting a day off Saturday due to a sore shoulder. The first baseman has been bothered by the injury since spring training, and re-aggravated it against the Marlins on Tuesday.
"It's probably something I'm going to deal with for a while," LaRoche told the team's official website.
New York has won five of its last seven meetings with the Nationals.
|Washington Nationals Career statistics vs. Chris Young|
|Jerry Hairston Jr.||5||1||0||0||0||1||0||1||.200||.200||.200||.400|