Establishing himself as one of baseball's most dominant pitchers, Matt Harvey is obviously a big part of the New York Mets' future.
They once had high hopes for former top prospect Jenrry Mejia, too.Mejia is set to make his season debut in Game 1 of Friday's day-night doubleheader against the host Washington Nationals before Harvey gets the ball in Game 2.Mejia, who struggled through a disappointing 2010 rookie season and underwent Tommy John surgery in 2011, was placed on the disabled list this spring with inflammation in his elbow. The right-hander, though, will get another chance to shine after going 2-0 with a 0.82 ERA in two starts at Double-A Binghamton.Mejia went 1-2 with a 6.23 ERA in three big league starts in September."We've tried to let him know or wanted him to understand -- what he's hearing today about (Zack) Wheeler, about Harvey was all about Jenrry Mejia three years ago," manager Terry Collins told the Mets' official website. "Sky's the limit, plus stuff, power arm -- all those things, and he's only 23 years old."The 24-year-old Harvey (8-2, 2.23 ERA), meanwhile, leads the NL with 157 strikeouts and is 5-0 on the road. In his first appearance since starting the All-Star game, Harvey beat Philadelphia on Sunday when he allowed three hits and struck out 10 in seven innings in a 5-0 win."That might be the best stuff I've seen him have," Collins said. "What I really liked (was that) in the middle of the game, he was trying to pitch to contact to have some easy innings. And he still threw the ball by some guys."The right-hander is 1-0 with a 1.29 ERA in two starts versus Washington (49-53) this year. He allowed three hits and struck out 11 over seven innings of one-run ball but didn't receive a decision in a 6-4 loss June 28.Bryce Harper, Jayson Werth and Kurt Suzuki are hitless in a combined 20 at-bats against Harvey.After missing Wednesday's 4-2 loss to Pittsburgh with left knee soreness, Harper went 3 for 5 with a walkoff two-run homer in Thursday's 9-7 win over the Pirates."Great to get the `W' today. We really needed it," said Harper, whose team snapped a season-high six-game losing streak. "Hopefully this one will carry on into tomorrow and the next day."The Nationals have taken 22 of 30 from New York, and they will be looking for a bounce-back performance from Jordan Zimmermann (12-5, 3.01) in Game 1. The right-hander had gone 14-0 with a 2.60 ERA in his previous 22 home starts dating to last year before surrendering seven runs in a career-low two innings Sunday in a 9-2 defeat to the Los Angeles Dodgers."You can be on the top of the world and then have a bad start, but what Jordan's so good at is kind of putting it in the past and coming out the next time and doing his job," third baseman Ryan Zimmerman said. "I don't see why the next time he wouldn't go back to what he's been all year."Zimmermann is 1-1 with a 1.50 ERA in his last seven starts versus New York (45-53). Daniel Murphy and Ike Davis are a combined 2 for 29 against him since 2012.Ross Ohlendorf (2-0, 2.03), who gets the ball in the nightcap, allowed two runs in six innings after replacing Zimmermann on Sunday. The right-hander won his only start this year, yielding one run and two hits in six innings in a 5-1 win at Colorado on June 12.Ohlendorf has allowed 16 runs in four games -- one start -- spanning eight innings against the Mets.New York has won four of six after beating Atlanta 7-4 on Thursday. Murphy, David Wright, Marlon Byrd and John Buck went a combined 10 for 20 with six RBIs."Guys are swinging the sticks like crazy right now. It's fun," Wheeler said after earning the victory.The Mets have averaged 5.0 runs during a 13-6 stretch on the road.
Mets outfielder Daniel Murphy's first-inning home run was calculated at 444 feet, the longest of his career. It is the longest home run hit at Nationals Park since Sept. 8, 2012, when Bryce Harper hit one 444 feet off Mark Buehrle.