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Mets Vs. Nationals: Washington Hopes Home Cooking Ends Recent Slide

Washington lefty Ross Detwiler takes the mound for the Nationals Friday evening against the Mets, hoping to end a recent skid that has seen the hometown team drop eight of nine ballgames.

Losers of eight of their last nine games, the Washington Nationals (63-72) return home to face a New York Mets (66-69) ballclub that by comparison has won six of their last seven contests. Washington is 37-28 at Nationals Park this season, going 5-5 on their most recent homestand.

Nationals manager Davey Johnson will send 25-year-old lefthander Ross Detwiler (2-4, 2.86 ERA) to the mound Friday evening. Detwiler has pitched well for Washington in his last five starts, compiling a 3.14 ERA in 28 2/3 innings, striking out 20 and walking nine, but has just a 1-4 record to show for it. In his career he is 1-0 with a 0.96 ERA against the Mets in three appearances.

New York will answer with knuckleballer R.A. Dickey (6-11, 3.57 ERA), who will be pitching on just three days rest. Dickey has not fared well against the Nationals this year, going 0-2 with a 4.08 ERA in three starts.

Washington's bats will have to come to life against the knuckleball, and as odd as it is to type this season, Jayson Werth might be able to provide the spark Friday night. In his last 12 games, Werth is hitting .313 with three home runs and six runs batted in, and for his career, the Nationals right fielder is eight for 19 against Dickey, with two home runs.

Nationals Line-Up

1. Ian Desmond, SS

2. Rick Ankiel, CF

3. Ryan Zimmerman, 3B

4. Michael Morse, LF

5. Jayson Werth, RF

6. Chris Marrero, 1B

7. Wilson Ramos, C

8. Alex Cora, 2B

9. Ross Detwiler, SP