In a pitchers' duel between the Washington Nationals' Edwin Jackson and the New York Mets' Jon Niese, the Nats fell by a score of 2-0 Saturday on a lone Ike Davis home run in the seventh. With this home series now knotted up, the Nationals will turn to trusty lefty Gio Gonzalez (15-6, 3.29 ERA) against New York's right handed-rookie Jeremy Hefner (2-4, 4.76 ERA) to win their last home series against the Mets for the 2012 season.
Gonzalez has been an excellent complement to Nationals' ace Stephen Strasburg since being acquired from Oakland -- so excellent in fact, that Gonzalez is but one win away from becoming the winningest single season pitcher for the Nationals' franchise since the move from Montreal in 2005. If the Nationals are to not only win today, but also to maintain their hold of the NL East lead without the to-be-shutdown arm of of Strasburg, the All-Star Gonzalez will have to both meet and exceed what is expected of him by fans and coaches.
Also with a win today, Gonzalez would tie Cincinnati's Johnny Cueto and Tampa Bay's David Price for the Major League lead in wins.
Gonzalez's last outing against New York was a successful one, as he led Washington to a 5-2 victory over R.A. Dickey at Citi Field with a seven-inning, two-hit performance which yielded one unearned run.
Right fielder Jayson Werth and shortstop Ian Desmond are expected to miss Sunday's contest with a reported "day off." More lineup information, including complete lineups of this rubber match, will be provided as soon as they are made available.