With Carlos Beltran already dealt and two days remaining before the non-waiver Trade Deadline, the Mets and Nationals on Friday start a three-game weekend series at Nationals Park.
While New York is riding high, the Nats are trying to stop a losing skid at five games. The Marlins finished a three-game sweep of Washington on Thursday with a 5-2 win, and the Nats have lost five straight series.
On Friday, the pitcher the Nats will ask to play stopper hasn't made a big league start in more than two years.
Right-hander Chien-Ming Wang, last on a Major League mound on July 4, 2009, is set to make his Nationals debut. Right shoulder surgery that year -- the last of Wang's five seasons with the only Major League team he's ever been with, the Yankees -- has kept him out.
As might be expected, the goal on Friday will be avoiding overexertion.
"I'll probably have [Wang] throw about 80 to 90 pitches," Nats manager Davey Johnson said. "His first start, after a couple of years, is going to be a little more hyped and it will take a little more out of him."
Wang's made six starts in the Minors this year, going 2-1 with a 3.14 ERA across four levels. He struck out 17 and walked four in 28 2/3 innings.
"The guy worked his butt off for a year and a half in the Minor Leagues," Nats pitching coach Steve McCatty said. "He was one of the elite guys in the big leagues for a couple of years. He has worked extremely hard. I'm happy that he has progressed as far as he has to get back and pitch again."
Wang's lifetime ERA in the Majors is 4.16.
For the Mets, right-hander Dillon Gee makes his third career start against the Nats. He beat them in seven innings of two-hit, one-run ball in his Major League debut last September, and he beat them again with 7 2/3 innings of two-hit, shutout ball on May 19.
Mets: Wheeler excited to join Mets' farm
The top pitching prospect New York received from San Francisco for Beltran, Zack Wheeler, said in a phone interview Wednesday that he likes the situation his new team presents.
"That's why I'm kind of pumped about going to the Mets right now," the 21-year-old righty said. "There's a lot of opportunity, and I just want to take that opportunity and go with it.
"Of course I was a little down about it at first, but I think it will work out for the best for me. I'm happy to see what's going to happen."
Mike Nickeas was called up to take Beltran's spot on the big league roster, at least in the short term.
Nickeas, a catcher hitting .208 with two home runs in 49 games at Triple-A Buffalo, could return to the Minors once Nick Evans, who was recently designated for assignment, becomes eligible for a recall.
Nationals: Slaten on the mend
Left-hander Doug Slaten (sore left elbow) is ready to begin a throwing program in Viera, Fla., after nearly two months of rest.
With a 2.19 ERA in 23 appearances, Slaten last pitched on June 3 against the D-backs. There's no timetable set for his big league return.
The Mets never swept a four-game series in Cincinnati before Thursday.
Friday's contest will be televised in The Republic of China on Formosa TV (FTV). The local time in Taiwan, Wang's home country, for the game will be 7:05 a.m. on Saturday.