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Game 8 Preview- New York (6-1) at Washington (2-7)

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  • Game 8 Preview- New York (6-1) at Washington (2-7)

    Thinking sweep, Mets tab Zambrano
    New York (6-1) at Washington (2-7), 1:05 p.m. ET
    By Marty Noble /

    Back to baseball.
    Since the first day the Mets watched Victor Zambrano throw in Spring Training, they have said he looks different -- different, as in better -- from how he looked last season. He was throwing more easily and his pitches had better movement.

    That was before Zambrano strained his left hamstring in his final spring appearance and before he endured a low-grade fever for most of 10 days.

    Zambrano was to have started the second game of the season. Then, because of the injury, his 2006 debut was pushed back to the sixth game. Now, after a rainout caused another rotation revision, he has been reassigned again -- to the ninth game on Thursday afternoon in Washington, D.C.

    Zambrano hasn't pitched in a game setting since March 31, and he didn't pitch all that much or all that well before the regular season -- 13 2/3 innings in three Spring Training appearances (one start) after working merely 2 2/3 innings in two appearances in the World Baseball Classic. His ERA for the 16 1/3 innings was 4.41, and he allowed 25 baserunners.

    Zambrano has yet to be the pitcher the Mets thought he would become when they traded Scott Kazmir for him in 2004, and he has slowly slipped in their regard. Zambrano was removed from the rotation at the end of last season, and he was the one bumped because of the rainout on Saturday.

    Pitching matchup

    NYM: RHP Victor Zambrano (7-12, 4.17 ERA in 2005)
    Zambrano lost his only two starts against the Nationals last season, allowing 10 runs in 9 1/3 innings.


    WAS: RHP Livan Hernandez (1-1, 5.25 ERA)
    Hernandez is winless with three losses in his last five starts against the Mets. His career record against the Mets is 10-11.

    Player to watch
    Ramon Castro will probably get his first start on Thursday -- a day game following a night game. Castro has had some success against Hernandez, picking up four hits -- including one home run -- in 11 at-bats.

    On the Internet
    Gameday Audio

    On television
    • SNY

    On radio
    • WFAN 660 AM, WADO 1280 AM (Español)

    Up next
    • Friday: Brewers (Chris Capuano, 1-1, 3.65 ERA) at Mets (Tom Glavine, 1-0, 2.25 ERA), 7:10 p.m. ET
    • Saturday: Brewers (Tomo Ohka, 0-0, 1.29 ERA) at Mets (Steve Trachsel, 1-0, 1.50 ERA) 1:10 p.m. ET
    • Sunday: Brewers (Ben Sheets, 10-9, 3.33 ERA in 2005) at Mets (Brian Bannister, 1-0, 2.77 ERA), 1:10 p.m. ET
    "There are three things in my life which I really love: God, my family, and baseball. The only problem - once baseball season starts, I change the order around a bit.
    ~~Al Gallagher

    God Bless America!

    Click here to see my baseball tribute site!

    Click here to see the best pitcher NOT in the HOF!


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