The New York Mets appear to have some momentum going after a lengthy but successful road trip and having Matt Harvey scheduled to pitch the opener of a week-long stay at home isn't too bad either.
The Mets and their young hurler take aim at a third straight victory on Friday in the opener of a three-game series with the Washington Nationals.
Harvey has won back-to-back outings following a five-start winless streak. He fanned 13 batters over seven innings to beat Atlanta on June 18, then held Philadelphia scoreless over six innings of an 8-0 triumph five days later. Harvey allowed two hits and a walk with strikeouts and did not return after a 20-minute rain delay despite having only thrown 72 pitches.
"We're going to get really tired of talking about how good this guy has a chance to become," Mets manager Terry Collins said.
Harvey is 7-1 with a 2.05 earned run average in 16 starts this season and that includes a win at home over Washington on April 19. The 24-year-old logged seven innings of one-run, four-hit ball with seven strikeouts.
He also faced the Nationals once a season ago and took a tough-luck loss as he only gave up a run and fanned 10 in five innings of work.
A make-up contest with the Colorado Rockies on Thursday extended New York's road trip to 11 straight games, but the Mets made the extra trip pay off with a 3-2 victory thanks to some clutch hitting from Marlon Byrd.
Byrd connected on a go-ahead two-run homer in the eighth inning off Rockies reliever Matt Belisle, his sixth home run of June to set a career best for a calendar month.
"(Belisle) missed his spot and it came back over the plate," Byrd said of his 12th homer of the season. "I just put a good swing on it."
Byrd, as well as continued performance from the bullpen, gave the Mets a 7-4 record on their road trip. New York's group of relievers permitted just two runs over 34 1/3 innings during the swing for a 0.52 ERA.
In addition to having Harvey on the hill, third baseman David Wright is expected to be in the starting lineup as the Mets try to win three straight for the first time since winning five in a row from May 26-30. Wright did not start on Thursday for just the second time this season and did not appear in the game at all for the first time in 2013.
He did not start an April 29 contest at Miami, but did pinch-hit.
The Nationals hit the road following a 4-3 homestand and are even on the season at 39-39. They were looking for a three-game sweep of the Arizona Diamondbacks on Thursday, but dropped the finale 3-2 in extra innings.
Washington reliever Craig Stammen gave up a leadoff double to Miguel Montero in the 11th inning and he moved to third on Cody Ross' sacrifice bunt. Following a Jason Kubel walk, the Nats again put the ball on the ground as Didi Gregorius executed a perfect bunt to score a pinch-running A.J. Pollock from third.
"It's a tough play to defend," Nationals shortstop Ian Desmond said of the safety squeeze.
Desmond accounted for Washington's only runs of the game with a two-run homer in the fourth inning.
Things have not gone well for Nationals hurler Ross Detwiler since his return from the disabled list and he'll try to avoid a third straight losing start Friday.
Detwiler was sidelined for nearly a month due to an oblique injury and is winless in three outings since his return on June 13. He dropped his second start in a row on Sunday versus Colorado and it was his worst outing of the season as the lefty was charged with a season-high seven runs over 3 2/3 innings.
Detwiler has lost his past three decisions overall and is without a win since May 10. He is 2-6 on the year and his ERA has risen to 4.18 from 2.76 prior to his stint on the DL.
The 27-year-old will face the Mets for the first time this season and is 4-1 against them in nine previous meetings (6 starts) with a 3.08 ERA.
The Nationals dominated the Mets in 2012, winning 14 of 18 meetings while going 8-1 in New York. However, the Mets lead the 2013 series 3-2.