WASHINGTON, D.C.: The Mets will try to even their series with the Washington Nationals tonight, in a game pitched by two first-timers.

Originally, Johan Santana was supposed to start tonight’s game for the Mets, but he strained a pectoral muscle in his last start on Thursday and was scratched.

Therefore, taking his spot in the rotation will be 24-year-old minor leaguer Dillon Gee. This is Gee’s fourth season in the Mets organization since they drafted him in the 21st round of the 2007 amateur draft.

He has had a solid Minor League career, going 27-18 with a 3.76 ERA pitching in all levels of the Mets farm system.

This season, he made 28 starts for Triple-A Buffalo, and was erratic. He went 13-8 with a 4.96 ERA, but set the single-season Bisons strikeout record with 165 in 161.1 innings.

He will finally get the call tonight, making his debut opposite another first-time big leaguer.

Pitching for the Nationals will be Yuneski Maya. It’s a weird call-up by Washington, considering it’s a 29-year-old pitcher with no professional experience.

Maya made five starts in the Minors this season, his first season in a Major League farm system.

He did great in two starts for Triple-A Syracuse, going 1-1 with a 0.87 ERA. Perhaps the ERA in Triple-A is why he got the promotion to make his big league debut tonight.

Nobody knows how long Dillon Gee will pitch in his first career start, but one thing is for sure: the bullpen must pitch better than yesterday.

Really, there was one culprit, and that was Ryota Igarashi. In one inning pitched, he allowed five runs, walked three, threw a wild pitch, and allowed a grand slam.

The grand slam he allowed to shortstop Danny Espinosa was the 11th bases-loaded home run the Mets have allowed this season.

They, on the other hand, have hit zero grand slams. The 11 given up are a single-season franchise record.

Center fielder Carlos Beltran did not start yesterday and he has not started two of the Mets last four games. He should be back in the lineup tonight and shortstop Jose Reyes could be back soon as well.

He is feeling better and will return once he feels fit to go from the left side of the plate. Mets manager Jerry Manuel said he could return today or tomorrow.

In order to make room on the 40-man roster for Dillon Gee, the Mets moved left fielder Jason Bay (concussion) to the 60-day disabled list. Bay could return as early as Sept. 24.

There is no telling how tonight’s game will play out with two unknowns on the mound, so sit back and watch to see which team will pull out the victory.

Dillon Gee this season (28 starts for Triple-A Buffalo)

13-8, 4.96 ERA, 161.1 IP, 174 hits, 41 BB, 165 SO


Yuneski Maya this season (5 starts in the Minors)

1-2, 3.38 ERA, 21.1 IP, 18 hits, 10 BB, 18 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


May 19: Washington 5, New York 3
May 20: New York 10, Washington 7


July 1: Washington 2, New York 1
July 2: New York 5, Washington 3
July 3: Washington 6, New York 5
July 4: New York 9, Washington 5


Sept. 6: Washington 13, New York 3
Nationals lead series 8-5

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