WASHINGTON - After his last outing, a surprisingly difficult slog against the Marlins, Mets pitching phenom Matt Harvey managed to find one positive. In his next start, he'd have another shot against the Marlins.
That rematch comes Friday night at Citi Field -- as long as Tropical Storm Andrea doesn't get in the way.
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"I know he always has something to prove," manager Terry Collins said. "It's just what motivates him."
For Harvey (5-0, 2.17 ERA), that motivation comes in the form of his outings this season against the Marlins. Though they are the lowest-scoring offense in baseball, the Marlins have forced Harvey to grind out a pair of no-decisions.
On April 29, Harvey threw a career-high 121 pitches in only 51/3 innings, allowing a run and seven hits. Last Sunday, the righthander allowed four runs and a season-high 10 hits in five innings.
"I know he wants to step it up," Collins said of Harvey, who traveled to New York before the rest of the club.
Despite Thursday night's postponement because of rain in Washington, Harvey will stay on his scheduled turn Friday night, when the Mets will hold another ticket special in his honor. As they've done in some of his previous home starts, some tickets will come with T-shirts featuring Harvey.
Meanwhile, Shaun Marcum's start was moved from Thursday night to Saturday. On Sunday, the Mets expect Jonathon Niese to return to the rotation. He had been slated to come back from shoulder tendinitis on Saturday.
"Right now, everything's go," Collins said. "We're going to be cautious, see how he feels. He had a great bullpen yesterday."
Collin McHugh remains most likely to make another spot start if Niese suffers a setback.
The Mets and Nationals will play a split doubleheader Friday, July 26, with the makeup of Thursday night's rainout at 1:35 p.m. The regularly scheduled game will begin at 7:05 p.m. The postponement was the Mets' fifth of the season.