Next foe for Nationals an old friend

Next foe for Nationals an old friend

WASHINGTON -- Nationals Park is not the only place susceptible to rain. The Nats' next opponent, the New York Mets, also had a game postponed this week in Pittsburgh, which shuffled their rotation.

The result: Former Nationals hurler Tim Redding will be the Mets starter Friday in the first game of this weekend's series.

With two games against the Giants (one being called in the sixth inning due to rain), it was a busy Thursday at Nationals Park. So when asked about the possibility of facing his former teammate Friday, first baseman Nick Johnson wasn't even aware that Redding was scheduled to start.

"It'll be fun," Johnson said after being told. "I've never faced him before." (Johnson actually did face Redding once, and walked in that lone plate appearance.)

Johnson said he would look at Redding's film Friday, just like he would for any other pitcher.

Rookie Shairon Martis will start on the mound for the Nationals. Martis picked up his first loss last Saturday against the Phillies.

Veterans like Redding leaving the Nationals this offseason paved the way for Martis and a young staff to complete the rotation in 2009.

Redding was 10-11 with a 4.95 ERA for the Nationals last season, but he has struggled in his new setting. In three starts with the Mets, he is 0-2 with a 9.20 ERA.

Said Ryan Zimmerman about squaring off against Redding, whom he played with for a couple of seasons: "He's not your teammate anymore, and you want to win just as much as you want to beat anyone else."

Pitching matchup
WSH: RHP Shairon Martis (5-1, 5.62 ERA)
Martis' troubles with his command finally cost him with his first loss of the season Saturday against the Phillies. Martis took a 3-1 lead into the third inning, but gave up two hits and a walk to load the bases and then surrendered a grand slam to Ryan Howard. Martis finished the night with two walks and one strikeout in four innings, allowing seven runs. He threw just 42 strikes in 71 pitches. In Martis' last four starts, he's walked 10 batters with just seven strikeouts, and in his last 16 innings he's allowed 17 earned runs.

NYM: RHP Tim Redding (0-2, 9.20 ERA)
Redding had his second successive rough outing Saturday against the Marlins, allowing seven earned runs on eight hits in four-plus innings. After a solid six innings in his first start, Redding now has allowed 13 earned runs in his two subsequent starts, encompassing 8 2/3 innings. Now he returns to Washington, his baseball home for the 2007 and 2008 seasons. He produced a 6-7 record and 5.61 ERA in 18 starts and 94 2/3 innings in Nationals Park last season. Josh Willingham has a .385 average and two home runs in 13 career at-bats against Redding.

With hits in both ends of the doubleheader, Nick Johnson has hit safely in 20 of 23 games. Johnson was one of two Nationals to get a hit off Randy Johnson in Game 1. The first baseman doubled and walked twice in that game. ... After striking out seven Giants batters in six innings Thursday, Jordan Zimmermann has now fanned 54 in 52 innings. ... Cristian Guzman sat out the first game Thursday but doubled in his first at-bat of Game 2. Guzman is second on the Nationals with 11 doubles, trailing just Zimmerman, who has 15.

 Buy tickets now to catch the game in person.

On the Internet
 Gameday Audio
•  Gameday
•  Official game notes

On television

On radio
• WFED 1500, SBN 1390 (Español), ESPN 730 (Sp.)

Up next
• Saturday: Nationals (John Lannan, 2-5, 4.21) vs. Mets (John Maine, 5-3, 3.75), 7:05 p.m. ET
• Sunday: Nationals (Craig Stammen, 0-1, 5.71) vs. Mets (Livan Hernandez, 4-1, 4.33), 1:35 p.m. ET
• Monday: Off-day

Mark Selig is an associate reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.