The Mets may not be in the thick of the playoff race, but that doesn't mean they are going to roll over during their current nine-game road trip, all against teams in the postseason hunt.
However, manager Terry Collins did say that he plans to play plenty of young talent during the last month of the season.
"We've got young players, and they're going to play," Collins said. "So to say we're going to give games away? No, I don't think we'll ever do that. But I can understand certain teams can say, 'How come you didn't play [Justin] Turner? He's an established big league player.' Or a Lucas Duda. 'How come you didn't get Lucas Duda in there and you played so-and-so?' I don't ever worry about anyone else's team, and they shouldn't worry about what we do.
"We certainly want to compete and do the best we can to beat anyone who's out there, but one of the things we're trying to do is see who fits here. So there's gonna be nights against the Braves or somebody else when we're gonna play some young guys out there."
That could happen when the Mets square off against the Nationals on Saturday in Washington. Zack Wheeler gets the nod for New York, and Dan Haren will take the hill for Washington.
Wheeler has tossed four straight quality starts, with a 2.45 ERA over that span. In his last outing against the Phillies, the rookie right-hander (6-3, 3.42 ERA) took a loss, allowing two runs on five hits in 6 2/3 innings.
Meanwhile, Haren (8-11, 4.66 ERA) has found a groove in August. The right-hander has allowed just eight runs in five August starts and one relief appearance, five of which have come off home runs. That's a great sign for Haren after struggling heavily during the first half of the season.
He had his worst outing of the month his last time out against the Royals, allowing four runs on eight hits in seven innings of work. Feeling uncomfortable the second he took the hill in Kansas City, Haren allowed all four runs in the first inning.
"I was overheating a little bit," Haren said after the start. "Coming out of the bullpen, I couldn't catch my breath. The Royals came out hacking. ... I was really in trouble from the get-go."
Mets: Brown gets start on Friday
Outfielder Andrew Brown was in the Mets' lineup once again on Friday as the team looks to capitalize on his hot hitting.
In his past 13 games, including eight starts, Brown is 14-for-38 (.368) with three doubles, two home runs and 11 RBIs.
"We know he's got a chance to hit," Collins said. "When we first brought him up, I got a report that said, because he's had a history of hitting lefties ... 'Don't be afraid to leave him in there against righties, because he can hit righties also.' So right now, he's swinging the bat great, he's driving in runs, it's still important to score, so we're gonna leave him where he's hitting and try to get him in as many games as we can."
Nationals: Ohlendorf to start Sunday
Manager Davey Johnson announced Friday that Ross Ohlendorf will start Sunday's series finale against the Mets. However, Johnson also said that he would eventually like to see long reliever Tanner Roark start a game before the season is over.
The 26-year-old Roark has impressed in his eight appearances with the Nationals this season, sporting a 4-0 record and 0.93 ERA.
"You want to give him the opportunity to see how that plays going forward into next year, if he would be a candidate to start," Johnson said. "You want to have a good lead on as many good young pitchers as you can going forward. We know about [Ross Detwiler], [Taylor] Jordan, but you need to have more than just five. So we want to give him an opportunity to step up."
The Nationals considered starting Stephen Strasburg on Sunday night against the Mets because he only threw 22 pitches in his previous start before a rain delay ended his night. Strasburg will instead make his regularly scheduled start Monday in Philadelphia.
• Wheeler is the third Mets starter with at least 10 outings of five or more strikeouts within his first 13 games, after Dwight Gooden (10) and Matt Harvey (10).
• Johnson said Friday that Detwiler is "real close" to throwing off a mound. The manager would like to see Detwiler throw one inning and take four days of rest before throwing again to test the left-hander's injured back.
Quinn Roberts is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.