Mets starter Bartolo Colon will return to the mound Wednesday night against the Nationals at Citi Field for the first time since earning his 200th career win on Friday against the Phillies.
The 41-year-old right-hander shut down the Philadelphia bats, surrendering one run on six hits over eight innings in a 5-4 victory at Citizens Bank Park. It was a bounce-back performance for Colon, who had one of his worst outings of the season five days earlier when he allowed six earned runs in 4 2/3 innings against the Giants.
"I feel like last time, just leaving balls over the middle of the plate and they got hit. Today, he was hitting his spots," Mets catcher Travis d'Arnaud said of Colon after Friday's win. "He was pitching to contact. I mean, balls were getting hit, but they were getting hit off the end of the bat or getting jammed. He pitched really well."
Colon will take on Nationals right-hander Jordan Zimmermann in the second bout of a three-game set in New York.
Zimmermann gave up one run through his first six innings in his last start on Thursday against the Mets in Washington, but back-to-back hits forced him from the game with one out in the seventh, and reliever Drew Storen allowed both inherited runners to score.
"[Drew's] saved me a bunch this year, so it's not like I can be really mad at him for that," Zimmermann said after the game. "He's been pitching great, and he's going to be there the next time out when I need him."
Zimmermann earned a no-decision in that game, which the Nationals won on a 13th-inning walk-off home run from Bryce Harper.
Zimmermann will look to help the Nationals build on their five-game advantage over the Braves atop the National League East. It's the biggest lead Washington has had this season.
Nationals: Werth's shoulder not improving
Right-fielder Jayson Werth was out of the lineup Tuesday night against the Mets for the second time in three games because of inflammation in the AC joint in his right shoulder.
Werth left the clubhouse Tuesday afternoon with trainer Lee Kuntz to see a doctor for further testing. He aggravated the injury securing a sliding catch against the Braves on Sunday and originally hurt his shoulder making a catch against the Phillies during the Nationals' most recent homestand.
"He is not reacting well. We'll try to treat him again, get him going again. He feels sore today," manager Matt Williams said Tuesday. "I don't think it's a DL-type situation. ... I don't think there isn't any major issue. I think it's inflamed and sore."
Werth was available off the bench as a pinch-hitter Tuesday night, but he didn't see any action in the Nationals' 7-1 victory.
Mets: Collins expects meaningful games in September
It's been several years since the Mets made a late-season playoff push, and to consider them in contention this season might be a stretch, given they are 8 1/2 games back in the NL East and six games back of the second NL Wild Card.
Still, manager Terry Collins said he's expecting his team to play meaningful baseball next month. That the team has redirected its focus to giving younger players -- specifically Wilmer Flores and Matt den Dekker -- a shot to show they belong in the Majors could help with that.
"The influx of that young blood helps a little bit," Collins said. "They bring energy."
General manager Sandy Alderson agreed with Collins' assessment and added that finishing .500 or better would be significant.
"That would be important," Alderson said. "We know perception is reality. Certain things change perception and some things don't. We want to win as many games as we possibly can, given some of the other goals we have for the rest of the season."
• Nationals outfield prospect Michael Taylor went 2-for-4 with a home run and two RBIs in his Major League debut Tuesday night.
• An MRI on the injured left shoulder of Nationals outfielder Steven Souza Jr. revealed no structural damage. He injured his AC joint when he ran into the wall chasing down a Freddie Freeman home run on Friday against the Braves.
Daniel Popper is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.