Livan looks to close the series with a win

It is an early start for the rubber game of the Mets vs. Nats series at Nats Park and with a win the Nats will move to 3-0-2 in series play against the Mets and 9-6 overall, guaranteeing at least a tie in the season series. For what it is worth–probably nothing–the Nats are 10-10 in rubber games in 2010, including a 6-2 mark in DC but they have dropped 9 of their last 12 rubber games after starting the year 7-1.

 

The crafty, curveball crawling, 85 mph fastball hurling Livan Hernandez toes the rubber for the Nats. Yeah, it will be back-to-back games that a Cuban-native has started a game for the Nats. And now you are trying to remember the last time that happened. Well, the last time two Cuban-born teammates got the starting nod in consecutive games was Sept. 17-18, 2005, when Orlando “El Duque” Hernandez (loss) and Jose Contreras (win) toed the rubber for the White Sox against the Twins at the Metrodome.

 

Hernandez has struggled in his last three starts going 1-2 with a 12.00 ERA (20 ER/ 15 IP) with a .394 BAA but with a win today he would move to 10-10 with an ERA possibly under 4.00 on the season and the Nats would move to  15-14 when he starts. Not bad for a pitcher who the Nats signed to a Minor League contract during Spring Training.

 

Yesterday, Yunesky Maya and Dillon Gee squared off as they made their Major League debuts. Today, Hernandez and knuckleballer R.A. Dickey square off in a match-up of two surprising seasons and feel-good stories–both pitchers were signed as Minor League free agents in the offseason. Hernandez has been so instrumental in the Nats rotation–he hasn’t missed a start–the Nats signed him to a one year contract, ensuring he won’t need to wait around for a contract for the fourth straight season.

 

Dickey has traveled back and forth between the Minors and Majors his entire career, but after he was called-up on May 19 this season, he hasn’t looked back. He is 9-6 with a 2.91 ERA.  He tied a career high in wins and set a career high in innings pitched (139.1), games started (21) and quality starts (15).

 

Mets (68-71):

1.    Angel Pagan – RF

2.    Luis Hernandez – 2B

3.    Carlos Beltran – CF

4.    Ike Davis – 1B

5.    David Wright – 3B

6.    Chris Carter – LF

7.    Josh Thole – C

8.    Ruben Tejada – SS

9.    R.A. Dickey – SP (9-6, 2.91 ERA)

*Yesterday, Dillon Gee took a no-hitter into the sixth inning in his Major League debut. He is just the third pitcher over the last five seasons to take a no-hitter into the sixth in his first outing in the Big Leagues. Gee fired 7.0 innings of one run, two-hit ball to earn the win.

Nationals (60-79):

1.      Nyjer Morgan – CF

2.      Ian Desmond – SS

3.      Ryan Zimmerman – 3B

4.      Adam Dunn – 1B

5.      Roger Bernadina – LF 

6.      Michael Morse – RF

7.      Ivan Rodriguez – C

8.      Danny Espinosa – 2B

9.      Livan Hernandez – SP (9-10, 3.81 ERA)

UPDATE: Rodriguez has been scratched, Espinosa will hit 7th, Ramos will hit 8th and play catcher.

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