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New York Mets Knuckleballer R.A. Dickey Opens Set vs. Washington Nationals

Sammy Makki@sammymetsfanAnalyst IMay 19, 2010

OAKLAND - JULY 10:  R.A. Dickey #41 of the Seattle Mariners pitches against the Oakland Athletics during a Major League Baseball game on July 10, 2008 at McAfee Coliseum in Oakland, California. (Photo by: Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)
Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

After splitting two games in Atlanta, the Mets head to the Nation's Capital to play two with the reeling Nationals. After surprising everyone by getting off to a 20-15 start, the Nationals have lost five in a row to drop to an even 20-20 on the season.

The Mets, on the other hand, couldn't get to 20-20 as they lost last night behind ace Johan Santana. Now they will try and win a couple in D.C. with knuckleballer R.A. Dickey on the mound, taking the spot of the demoted Oliver Perez.

Dickey was having a fine season at Triple-A Buffalo, as he was 4-2 with a 2.23 ERA. In fact in one start, he retired 27 consecutive batters after allowing a leadoff hit. He will oppose former Mets' starter Livan Hernandez who is having an unbelieveable season for the Nationals.

Hernandez is 4-2 with an ERA of 1.46 which is really stunning considering where he is in his career. His fastball tops out at 85 MPH and he tends to leave balls right over the middle of the plate. Last season with the Mets he got off to a fantastic start before tiring out, which led to the Mets eventually cutting him in July.

Taking a look at the potential lineup he will face, it's still unknown. Jerry Manuel will have Jason Bay back in left field but also said he'd like to give David Wright a day off in this set.

If Wright's off day comes in this game, it would be the wrong move. In his career, Wright is hitting .333 (12-for-36) against Hernandez with four home runs and three doubles. At the same time though, it may be time to give Wright a day off, no matter how the numbers look because he's pressing like never before. He now leads the MLB in strikeouts with 55 and is on pace to set the all-time record with 223 in a season.

The Mets' offense as a whole couldn't do anything yesterday against Kris Medlen besides hitting a couple of home runs. They couldn't put togther any big innings in the two games in Atlanta and that's prompted Jerry Manuel to shake the lineup up for every game.

In last night's game, Chris Carter was batting third, Wright fourth, Ike Davis fifth, and originally Rod Barajas sixth before he was scratched due to a stomach virus. Nothing seems to be working.

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Pedro Feliciano gave up a hit to a left-handed hitter for a rare time to leadoff the ninth for the Braves last night. He's starting to show, just like all the other relievers, that he's being overworked.

In a game earlier in the season at Citi Field, the Mets couldn't hit Livan Hernandez. They have to get something going before returning home to start a series with the Yankees. In order to come back home a .500 team, they'll have to win both games in Washington.

R.A. Dickey vs. Washington (career)
0-1, 17.18 ERA, 3.2 IP, 8 hits, 3 BB, 3 SO

Livan Hernandez vs. New York (April 11)
Win, 7 IP, 0 ER, 5 hits, 3 BB, 1 SO

2010 season series (New York vs. Washington)
April 9: New York 8, Washington 2
April 10: Washington 4, New York 3
April 11: Washington 5, New York 2
May 10: Washington 3, New York 2
May 11: New York 8, Washington 6
May 12: Washington 6, New York 4
Nationals lead series 4-2

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