Rookie Taylor Jordan has, for the most part, given the Washington Nationals successively longer outings since an uneven big-league debut against the New York Mets last month.
New York's new six-man rotation will include Carlos Torres, who has been tremendous in two 2013 starts.
One right-hander considered a promising prospect opposes another who can only be called a journeyman when these disappointing teams complete a four-game set Sunday in Washington.
These NL East clubs, separated by three games in the standings, appear to be well out of contention.
Fans of both will be looking to the future and Nationals supporters should be excited by the progress of Jordan (0-3, 3.68 ERA).
The 24-year-old right-hander started the year in Class A Potomac before a 7-0 mark with an 0.83 ERA at Double-A Harrisburg helped pave the way for his promotion to the big leagues June 29.
Jordan gave up three runs - one earned - over 4 1-3 innings in a 5-1 loss to New York that day.
Although he remains winless, Jordan has increased his innings pitched to 5 2-3, 5 2-3, six and 7 2-3 in his latest outing, a 5-1 loss to Pittsburgh on Tuesday in which he gave up five runs.
Unlike last month, Jordan won't be in awe of the Mets (46-55).
"I'm starting not to really care who's up to bat," said Jordan, who will be shut down once he pitches between 20 and 30 more innings. "I still have to make my pitches. "
When Jordan last faced New York, Torres (1-1, 0.94) was in the Mets' bullpen.
He has allowed two runs over 11 innings in two starts made possible due to injuries to Jonathon Niese and Shaun Marcum.
Torres hadn't started since Aug, 3, 2010, before these outings. New York is his third team in four big-league seasons. He's part of a six-man rotation the Mets are using now to give Matt Harvey and Zack Wheeler extra rest.
Starting pitching has been the story of this series. Mets starters have allowed five runs over 22 innings while Nationals starters have yielded seven over 20 2-3.
Home runs have proved decisive. The Mets went deep three times in Friday's 11-0 rout before Ryan Zimmerman had the game's only homer in the nightcap of that doubleheader, a game-winning solo shot in a 2-1 victory.
Washington (51-54) scored all of its runs via the longball in Saturday's 4-1 win. Ian Desmond and Denard Span hit back-to-back homers in the second inning and Bryce Harper added a two-run shot in the third.
The Nationals have homered 12 times over their last eight games after a six-game drought.
"One thing we know that they can do is they're a dangerous club, they've got good power," Mets manager Terry Collins said.
Collins is hoping for a split before the Mets head to Miami for another four-game set Monday.
"We're 1-2 right now, we win tomorrow we're 2-2," he said. "There's nothing to accept. You've just gotta keep playing, bounce back, we've got a lot of road trip left."
The Associated Press News Service
The Associated Press
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