After taking two of three from both the Atlanta Braves and the Florida Marlins, the Washington Nationals (17-14) head north to face the New York Mets (17-14) for the second time this season.

The two squads are tied for second in the NL East, two games behind the two-time defending National League Champion Philadelphia Phillies.

The Nationals got the better of the Mets the first time around. Willy Taveras drove in all four runs in a 4-3 victory and Josh Willingham plated all five the next day in a 5-2 win.



While the Nationals have been very consistent, never winning or losing more than three games in a row, the Mets results have been far more varied. Through just 31 games, the Mets have already rolled off an eight game winning streak and a four game losing streak. However, the team appears to be leveling out. New York has gone 5-5 over their past 10 games.

With all the vitriol coming from the New York media, you would think the Mets were the worst team in baseball.

After starting the season 4-8, numerous outlets questioned whether the Mets had the required pieces to compete in the vicious NL East. Much of this skepticism was directed toward a young, lightly touted pitching staff that had yet to live up to its perceived potential.

Though ace Johan Santana was viewed as a sure thing and Oliver Perez had limited expectations after struggling through the 2009 season, John Maine, John Niese, and Mike Pelfrey received much of the scorn. The young trio has largely dispelled the initial worries by posting a 6-3 combined record.

Pelfrey has been the star of the bunch, and the best pitcher on the team, going 4-1 with a 2.65 ERA and 25 Ks.

If the Mets get sustained performances from these three arms, and Santana continues to round into form, the New York Mets should remain in the division race throughout the season.

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