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Morning Briefing: Mets already can match 2014 win total vs. Nats

NEW YORK --

FIRST PITCH: The New York Mets beat the Washington Nationals only four times in 19 tries in 2014.

The Amazin’s already can match last season’s win total on Saturday at Citi Field.

Jonathon Niese (2-1, 2.74 ERA) opposes fellow southpaw Gio Gonzalez (1-2, 5.01) in the 7:10 p.m. ET game.

The Mets are 3-2 against Washington this season.

Manager Terry Collins said he plans to start Ruben Tejada over Wilmer Flores at shortstop for Saturday’s game, although Collins suggested that was scripted before the series started.

SATURDAY’S NEWS REPORTS:

    • Matt Harvey tossed seven scoreless innings and outdueled Max Scherzer as the Mets snapped a three-game losing streak with a 4-0 win against Washington on Friday night. The Mets won for only the second time in their last 17 games against the Nationals at Citi Field.

      Harvey became the first Mets pitcher since Pedro Martinez in 2006 to win his first five starts of a season. Jeurys Familia converted a five-out save after originally inheriting a one-run lead in the eighth.

      Michael Cuddyer provided the lone damage in Scherzer’s seven innings on a fourth-inning solo homer.

      “I didn’t have that great a stuff, but I was able to keep it over the plate, keep it down, and roll some groundballs,” said Harvey, as a snow globe containing a hand with its middle finger raised rested behind him in his locker.

      Said Cuddyer about the Harvey-Scherzer matchup: “They got you ready for the Kentucky Derby, because both of those were horses out there on the mound.”

      Read game recaps in the Post, Daily News, Newsday, Times, Journal, Record and at NJ.com and MLB.com.

  • Dilson Herrera went 0-for-3 with two strikeouts in his season debut. He also was struck on the right forearm in his first plate appearance by a 93 mph fastball from Scherzer. Herrera said the arm was fine postgame. Herrera’s call-up to play second base coincides with Daniel Murphy shifting to third base. General manager Sandy Alderson identified several reasons for Herrera’s call-up, including the Mets’ recent losing skid and a longer absence for David Wright than originally expected. Left-handed reliever Jack Leathersich was demoted Friday to clear the roster spot for Herrera. Read more in the Journal, Newsday and at NJ.com and MLB.com.

  • Wright did no baseball activity for a second straight day Friday in Port St. Lucie and is unlikely to be activated from the DL even by next weekend. Read more at NJ.com.

  • Flores is in no danger of losing his job as the starting shortstop, Alderson said Friday afternoon. Flores then committed an error for the third straight day and for the seventh time this season. Read more in the Daily News and at NJ.com.

    • Pedro Martinez, in his autobiography, “Pedro,” that is due out next week, claims Mets owner Jeff Wilpon forced him to pitch in a meaningless September game in late 2005 to sell tickets after manager Willie Randolph told the ace he was done for the season because of a toe problem.

      “While I’m the boss here, you’re going to have to do what I say,” Wilpon is quoted by Martinez as saying, according to the Times.

      Writes Martinez: “I couldn’t help but think about how when I was healthy in 2005, our team wasn’t that good. But as my health declined, I was urged to pitch a meaningless game at the end of 2005 that wound up shortening my recovery time for 2006 and led me to a hospital where doctors performed a three-hour arthroscopic procedure to repair my shoulder.”

      Wilpon denied the allegation in a statement to the Times’ Tyler Kepner.

      “Pedro was always a great competitor and deserving of being in the Hall of Fame,” the statement said, according to the newspaper. “This particular excerpt in the book is false as those kinds of decisions have always been put in the hands of our baseball people.”

  • Ex-Met Nick Evans said Steven Matz is the best pitcher the Reno Aces have faced this season in the Pacific Coast League. Matz could get a spot start for the Mets later this month.

  • Harvey is living up to the hype, columnist Ken Davidoff writes in the Post.

  • Read more on Familia’s five-out save at NJ.com.

  • Cesar Puello, who officially is on the major league DL with a back issue, is due to be examined by team doctors in the coming days and may be cleared for baseball activity.

  • Matt Bowman allowed one run in five innings and Jon Velasquez earned a save in his Triple-A debut despite surrendering a two-run homer as Las Vegas beat Reno, 4-3. Gavin Cecchini drove in the tiebreaking run in a two-run sixth as Binghamton beat New Hampshire, 2-1. Brandon Nimmo went 1-for-4 in his return to the lineup, two days after feeling a pinch in his right knee and departing in the ninth inning. Starter Logan Taylor allowed six runs (five earned) in 3 2/3 innings and Bradenton beat St. Lucie, 12-1. Alberto Baldonado’s eighth-inning wild pitch allowed the go-ahead run to score as Savannah lost to Lakewood, 2-1. Read the full minor league recap here.

  • From the bloggers … Mets Report suggests the team is making the right call by sticking with Flores at shortstop.

BIRTHDAYS: Joe Crawford, who pitched in 19 games for the Mets in 1997, turns 45.

TWEET OF THE DAY:

YOU’RE UP: Should Matz be the call-up if the Mets use a spot starter during a stretch of 20 games in 20 days later this month?