Harvey seeks 5-0 start in clash with Nats

(SportsNetwork.com) – Matt Harvey won his first four starts back in 2013 and
is riding the same trail two years later.

The New York Mets ace takes the hill Friday against the Washington Nationals
in the continuation of a four-game series at Citi Field.

After Harvey started 4-0 back in 2013, he posted four straight no-decisions
and went 1-1 over the next 10 appearances. Harvey, who missed all of last
season recovering from Tommy John surgery, is 4-0 with a 3.04 earned run
average this season and pitched 8 2/3 innings of two-run ball in Saturday’s
8-2 win over the New York Yankees in the Bronx.

The hard-throwing right-hander has allowed nine runs over the last three
starts and opened the season with six scoreless innings of four-hit ball in a
6-3 triumph at Washington. Harvey struck out a season-high nine batters and
walked one.

Harvey has fanned at least seven batters in every start and is 2-1 with a
sparkling 0.82 ERA in five career starts against the Nationals.

Max Scherzer counters Harvey on the mound for Washington and is 1-2 with a
1.26 ERA in four starts. The first-year Nat signed a big deal in the offseason
and had his last start pushed back because of a thumb issue.

Scherzer, who was supposed to battle Atlanta on Tuesday, took the loss in a
4-1 decision versus St. Louis on April 23 and allowed two runs and six hits
through seven innings. Scherzer was coming off eight strong innings versus
Philadelphia and lost to the Mets on April 6, when he permitted four runs —
three earned — in 7 2/3 innings of a 3-1 setback in his Washington debut.

The right-handed Scherzer is 2-1 with a 2.05 ERA in five career games (4
starts) against the Mets.

New York has lost three in a row and five of its last seven games, and dropped
the opener of this set 8-2 on Thursday. Jacob deGrom was saddled with the loss
for allowing five runs — three earned — and five hits in 5 1/3 innings.

“You hate to admit it,” Mets manager Terry Collins said, “but it’s a great
experience for him. … You can’t rush the game. You have to let it come to
you a little bit. I’m not too worried about it.”

Curtis Granderson and Kevin Plawecki each had an RBI, while Lucas Duda posted
a team-high two hits in the loss.

Washington has scored 34 runs in its last three games and is unbeaten in the
previous three following a six-game slide. Bryce Harper drove in three runs,
Yunel Escobar went 3-for-5 with three runs scored and both Ryan Zimmerman and
Wilson Ramos knocked in a pair of runs.

“We came in here with confidence,” Harper said. “It’s nice to see.”

Stephen Strasburg picked up the win and allowed two runs in 5 1/3 innings.

The Nationals lost two of three meetings with New York from April 6-9 in DC,
but are 12-4 in the previous 16 games in this series.