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Game 6: Nats at Mets

Apr 11, 2012, 3:08 PM EDT

US Presswire file photo
Aces Stephen Strasburg and Johan Santana meet today at Citi Field.

With the title of "staff ace" comes an important responsibility: The daunting task of going up against fellow aces, especially early in the season when most teams' rotations are in sync.

So Stephen Strasburg isn't only facing the Mets lineup this afternoon at Citi Field. He's also facing Johan Santana, the two-time Cy Young Award winner who is now attempting to return from the same shoulder surgery that sidelined Chien-Ming Wang for two years. Obviously, Strasburg isn't going head-to-head with Santana (except when the pitchers bat) but he has to figure his lineup is going to struggle to score runs against the New York left-hander, making his own strong performance all the more necessary.

Speaking of the Nats lineup, Davey Johnson is going with more tweaks today than we've seen in any of the previous five games because his club is facing a left-handed starter for the first time. So Jayson Werth (fresh off a four-hit game last night) is hitting cleanup, with Mark DeRosa behind him and Adam LaRoche bumped all the way down to the 6-hole. Werth also is starting in center field for the first time this year, with Xavier Nady in right. Jesus Flores also makes his second start behind the plate in three days.

As you know, I'm not in New York for this series (though I'll be watching this game with particular interest and will post some instant analysis as soon as it ends). Enjoy this great early-season matchup and the conversation that comes with it…

WASHINGTON NATIONALS at NEW YORK METS
Where: Citi Field
Gametime: 1:10 p.m. EDT
TV: MASN, MLB Network (outside D.C. area), MLB.tv
Radio: WFED (1500 AM), WHFS (1580 AM), XM 183
Weather: Mostly cloudy, 52 degrees, Wind 10 mph out to RF

NATIONALS (3-2)
SS Ian Desmond
2B Danny Espinosa
3B Ryan Zimmerman
CF Jayson Werth

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