Washington Nationals (2-4, 5th NLE) v. New York Mets (3-3, 2nd NLE)
Citi Field, Flushing, NY
Fri. Apr. 8, 4:10 pm: Jordan Zimmermann (0-1, 3.00) v. R.A. Dickey (1-0, 0.00)
Sat. Apr. 9, 7:10 pm:  Tom Gorzelanny (first start) v. Chris Capuano (0-0, 13.50)
Sun. Apr. 10, 1:10 pm:  Jason Marquis (0-0, 2.84) v. Chris Young (0-0, 1.69)

Fresh off their second win of the season, a 5-3 extra inning affair against the Florida Marlins, the Washington Nationals head to New York to take on the Mets in their home opener Friday afternoon.   The Mets have had a funny start to the 2011 season, with four of their six games blowouts in one direction or the other, including back-to-back losses to the Philadelphia Phillies in their most recent two games by the scores of 10-7 and 11-0.

Last season, the Nats and Mets spilt their season series with 9 wins apiece, and the Nats took five of nine at Citi Field.

New York is led as usual by 3B David Wright, and the perennial all-star is hitting .346 (9-for-26) with a homer and five RBIs so far this season.  Second year 1B Ike Davis (.348) and SS Jose Reyes (.310) are also both off to good starts.  Former Nationals utility Willie Harris is getting a lot of playing time early as well and is hitting .353 (6-for-17 with a homer) in the first week of play.

The Nats will face knuckleballer R.A. Dickey Friday afternoon.  The right-hander was 1-0 with a 1.89 ERA in three starts versus Washington in 2010.

For the Nats, they hope home runs by Jayson Werth and Adam LaRoche Thursday are a good sign the team is ready to break out of their early-season slump.  However, Werth is 2-for-14 the last four games and batting .243 with 23 strikeouts in 18 games at Citi Field.

As a team through the first six games, the Nats are hitting .210/.299/.318, last in the N.L., and their 3.17 runs per game is 13th in the circuit.  And for all the of-season preaching about improving the defense, Washington enters play Friday last in the N.L. with eight errors in six games.

TEAM STATS (courtesy baseball-reference.com)

WAS:  3.17 RPG (13th), 4.83 RAG (13th), DefEff: .696 (8th), 8 errors (16th)
NYM:  5.17 RPG (4th), 5.67 RAG (15th), DefEff: .608 (16th), 5 errors (T-8th)