Nats set to face Dickey, Zimmermann hoping for carryover performance

We've got quite a pitching matchup on our hands tonight up in Flushing, N.Y.

Two of the top seven in the National League in ERA - R.A. Dickey and Jordan Zimmermann - will toe the rubber at Citi Field.

Dickey (18-4, 2.64) is probably the leading candidate for the NL Cy Young award at this point, while Zimmermann (10-8, 2.99) is looking to carry some momentum from his last start out, when he allowed just two runs over seven innings with nine strikeouts in a win over the Cubs.

That was the game in which things got a bit heated between the Nationals and Cubs and the benches cleared twice, incidents which kind of overshadowed Zimmermann's outing.

But coming off a rough six-start stretch which saw him pitch to a 6.23 ERA prior to that game against the Cubs, those seven strong innings were just what the doctor ordered for the 26-year-old right-hander.

Zimmermann has dominated the Mets this season, holding them to just three runs over 18 innings. He's struck out 15 and hasn't walked a single Mets batter.

Bryce Harper won't be thrilled to see Dickey on the mound tonight - the rookie outfielder is 0-for-10 with six strikeouts against Dickey this season.

Outside of Harper, a handful of Nats have actually hit the Mets knuckleballer pretty well, however.

Jayson Werth is batting .440 (11-for-25) off Dickey for his career, with two homers, three doubles, four RBIs and a 1.300 OPS.

Hit Werth leadoff and then try and figure out a way to sneak him back to the plate as many times as possible. Put him in disguises, distract the umpires, do whatever you've got to do.

Ryan Zimmermann is 9-for-27 (.333) off Dickey with a home run and a double, Michael Morse is batting .292 off him with five RBIs and Jesus Flores is 3-for-7 against Dickey with three RBIs of his own.

Despite all that, Dickey is still 2-1 with a 3.05 ERA in three starts against the Nats this season.

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