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Mets vs. Nationals Preview: Game #96 — Chris Young vs. Jordan Zimmermann

Cool, Chris Young is pitching again.
Cool, Chris Young is pitching again.

Today's game notes, courtesy of @Mets.

Teams: Mets vs. Nationals
Date: Monday, July 23, 2012 • 7:10 p.m
Location: Citi Field • Flushing, NY.
Starters: RHP Jordan Zimmermann (7-6, 2.35) vs. RHP Chris Young (2-4, 4.11)
Info: Game #96 • Home Game #50

Starting Lineup

Ruben Tejada – SS
Jordany Valdespin – RF
David Wright – 3B
Ike Davis – 1B
Daniel Murphy – 2B
Jason Bay – LF
Kirk Nieuwenhuis – CF
Josh Thole – C
Chris Young – RHP

STAR WARS NIGHT: The Mets host their second annual Star Wars Night tonight...Tickets are available online at and include an exclusive Mets/Darth Vader t-shirt and a $5 donation to Stand Up To Cancer...Darth Vader, Jedi and Stormtroopers will be on hand for the night, and fans are encouraged to dress up as their favorite Star Wars characters for a costume contest with a grand prize of a Four-Day Pass to Star Wars Celebration in Orlando, Florida, August 23-26.

MATT HARVEY: The Mets placed RHP Matt Harvey on the taxi squad today, will active him tomorrow and he will start on Thursday at Arizona, making his major league debut...Harvey, 23, is 7-5 with a 3.68 ERA (45 earned runs/110.0 innings) and ranks second in the International League with 112 strikeouts in 20 starts for Buffalo this year...He was named to the International League All-Star team and tossed 2.0 scoreless and hitless innings with two strikeouts in the Triple-A All-Star Game, earning Top Star honors for his performance ...Harvey has struck out 10 or more batters in three starts this season ...The Mets’ first round pick in the 2010 First-Year Player Draft went 13-5 with a 3.32 ERA (50 earned runs/135.2 innings) in 26 starts with St. Lucie (A) of the Florida State League and Binghamton (AA) of the Eastern League last year...Harvey graduated from Fitch High School in Groton, CT and played three years at the University of North Carolina before he was drafted by the Mets.

MIKE BAXTER: Will continue his rehabilitation at Buffalo (AAA) of the International League...Went 1-3 with a single and was a hit by a pitch last night while playing nine innings in left field for Binghamton (AA) of the Eastern League at Bowie...Baxter is hitting .280 (7-25) with three doubles, five RBI and two runs scored in seven rehabilitation games.

FRANK FRANCISCO: Threw a 40-pitch bullpen session yesterday...He will be reevaluated today.

NICOLE “SNOOKI” POLIZZI: A devoted Mets fan, Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi will be at Citi Field tonight to tape segments for an upcoming original program that will debut nationally this August...She will be available for interviews and photo opportunities at 4:30 p.m. on the field.

METS AT A GLANCE: The Mets have lost three games in a row and nine of their last 10 games...New York is 4-12 in July and 2-9 this month when the opposition scores first...New York fell to 1-4 in extra innings after yesterday’s 8-3 loss to the Dodgers in 12 innings...The Mets were swept for the fifth time this year after losing three straight to Los Angeles.

.500: The Mets are below .500 for the first time since they finished last season 77-85.

AT HOME: The Mets are 26-23 at home this year...New York has lost five of its last six home games...Daniel Murphy ranks third in the majors with a .371 batting average at home...New York is 8-8 in the first game of a series at home.

DANIEL MURPHY: Went 9-11 (.818) with three runs, four doubles, one triple and three RBI in the three-game series vs. the Dodgers...He tied his career-high with four hits for the second time in as many starts yesterday after collecting four hits on Friday...Murphy is hitting .440 (33-75) with 18 RBI and 16 extra-base hits over his last 20 games, dating back to June 26.

STOLEN BASES: David Wright swiped his 10th base yesterday to give him eight seasons of double-digit steals, which is tied for the second most in franchise history with Mookie Wilson and Darryl Strawberry ...Jose Reyes had nine such seasons.

JORDANY VALDESPIN: Went 2-5 last night and is hitting .439 (18-41) with 10 RBI and 10 runs scored since June 18, a span of 16 games ...Valdespin has 20 RBI in 87 at-bats, and among major leaguers with 80 or more at-bats, he has the third-highest RBI per at-bat ratio (4.35).

RISP: The Mets were 4-19 with runners in scoring position yesterday and over their last seven games, the club is hitting .211 (15-71) with runners in scoring position...New York is hitting .268 with RISP on the season, ranking seventh in the majors.

RISP W/2 OUTS: The Mets were 2-9 with runners in scoring position and two outs yesterday and are hitting .281 in such situations, the second-highest mark in the majors...David Wright leads in the NL with a .389 (14-36) batting average with runners in scoring position and two outs...Ike Davis is tied for the major league lead with five home runs with runners in scoring position and two outs...Daniel Murphy is tied for the NL lead with 24 RBI with RISP and two outs.

TWO OUTS: The Mets scored two, two-out runs yesterday and have scored 198 two-out runs this season, the most in the majors...New York is hitting .269 with two outs, the third-highest average in the majors ...New York’s pitching staff has allowed 176 runs with two outs, including five yesterday, the third-most in the majors.

BULLPEN: The Mets pen has allowed at least one run in eight of nine games since the All-Star break…Overall, New York’s bullpen has the worst ERA (5.05) in the majors...The pen has lost 20 games, the second-most in the majors.

LAST START: Lost his third straight start on July 18 in the Mets’ 4-3 defeat at Washington...Pitched 6.0 innings and allowed a season low-tying two runs, earned, six hits, one home run, and one walk...Struck out a season low-tying two for the second straight game...Recorded his fifth quality start this season, and all his quality starts have come in his last six games.

YOUNG AND ZIMMERMANN: Face each other for the third time this season and for the first time at Citi Field...They started against each other last week on July 18 at Nationals Park in a 4-3 Mets loss...The two also matched up on June 5 at Nationals Park in a 7-6 Mets loss...Both Young and Zimmermann received no-decisions...The right-handers faced each other one other time on April 26, 2011 in a 6-4 Mets win...Young received a no-decision in that game while Zimmermann took the loss.

NORMAL REST: When pitching on four days rest this season, Young is 1-2 with a 2.79 ERA (six earned runs/19.1 innings pitched)...When pitching on five or more days rest this season, Young is 1-2 with a 5.06 ERA (15 earned runs/26.2 innings)...For his career, Young is 26-20 with a 3.75 ERA (168 earned runs/403.0 innings) when pitching on four days rest and 25-18 with a 3.76 ERA (175 earned runs/418.2 innings) when pitching on five or more days rest...Young is making tonight’s start on normal rest.

RUN SUPPORT: Has received the least run support on average (2.38 runs per start) of the five Mets starters who have made at least six starts this season...The team has scored three or fewer runs in five of the last six games Young has started and is 2-6 in Young’s eight starts.

THIRD TIME THROUGH: Opposing batters are hitting .372 (16-47) the third time they face Young in a game this season, .533 (8-15) in the seventh inning or later, and .600 (6-10) in late and close situations...For his career, Young has held opposing hitters to a .226 batting average when facing them for the third time in a game, but they have hit .260 against him in late and close situations.

PITCHING TO CONTACT: Young is averaging 4.9 strikeouts and 2.3 walks per nine innings this season, both down from his career averages of 7.7 strikeouts and 3.5 walks per nine innings...Opposing hitters are putting 22.1 percent of his pitches in play, up 4.9 percent from Young’s career average of 17.2 percent, and opposing hitters are batting .303 on balls in play, up 48 points from Young’s career average of .255...They are also swinging and missing 16.1 percent of the time, down 5.1 percent from Young’s career average of 21.2 percent...Opposing hitters are swinging at 32.5 percent of Young’s first pitches, up 4.0 percent from Young’s career average of 28.5 percent...All of Young’s statistics in these categories would be career highs or lows for a season.

PITCHES PER INNING: Young’s career pitches per inning average of 16.9 (13,900 pitches/821.2 innings) is fourth-highest among active pitchers who have started a game since 2002 and have thrown at least 800.0 career innings...Young is averaging 15.5 pitches per inning (714 pitches/46.0 innings) this season.

FINISHING INNINGS: With two outs in an inning this season, opposing hitters are batting .208 (11-53) against Young, but hitters are batting .305 (18-59) against him with one out in an inning and .319 (22-69) against him with no outs in an inning.

GROUND BALL/FLY BALL RATIO: Among pitchers who began their careers after the stat began to be kept in 1987 and have made at least 25 starts, Young has the lowest ground ball/fly ball ratio at 0.55 (660 ground balls/1195 fly balls)...This season, Young has a ground ball/fly ball ratio of 0.51 (44 ground balls/85 fly balls), which is lowest among starters with at least 25.0 innings pitched...For his career, Young has gotten 34 ground-ball double plays in 515 possible situations (6.6%)...The 34 total GIDP and 6.6% are both fewest in the majors among active pitchers with at least 100 career starts.

STOLEN BASE PERCENTAGE: Since 1974, no pitcher with at least 40 career starts has had bases stolen against him at a higher rate than Young...Base stealers have been successful against Young on 90.3 percent of their attempts (149 steals on 165 attempts)...This season, attempting base stealers are .750 (6-8) against Young.

OPPONENT BATTING AVERAGE: Ranks second to the Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw among active pitchers who have made at least 50 career starts with an opponent batting average of .222...Young’s opponent batting average this season is .282.

GOING STRONG: In his last 16 starts, dating to 2010, Young has posted a 5-4 record with a 2.80 ERA (28 earned runs/90.0 innings pitched)...Has not allowed more than two earned runs in 12 of those 16 starts...Has limited opponents to a .219 batting average over that span...Has received just 2.75 runs of support per start over that span, during which his teams are 9-7...Prior to his start at Atlanta on July 13 in which he allowed five earned runs, Young had not allowed more than three earned runs in any start since June 14, 2009 at LA (AL).