The New York Mets have plenty of options to play in the outfield but were drawing criticism for leaving their best defensive player, Juan Lagares, on the bench in favor of more proven offensive contributors. Lagares may have carved out a permanent spot with a strong return to the lineup and will try to make it two straight when the Mets visit the Washington Nationals on Sunday. Lagares homered and drove in three as New York snapped a slide on Saturday.Lagares was out of the lineup for nearly a week before getting the nod on Saturday after the Mets had totaled two runs in three straight losses. Lagares accounted for more offense than that by himself with a home run and three RBIs while robbing a home run in the field. The Nationals had won nine in a row against New York before Saturday's 5-2 setback and enter the rubber match with a short bullpen after the relief corps was forced to cover 10 innings in the first two games of the series.TV: 1:35 p.m. ET, SNY (New York), MASN (Washington)PITCHING MATCHUP: Mets RH Zack Wheeler (1-3, 4.53 ERA) vs. Nationals RH Jordan Zimmermann (2-1, 3.59)Wheeler is battling through some inconsistency but is due for a good turn if the pattern holds after getting knocked around for five runs and seven hits at the Yankees on Tuesday. The 23-year-old put together his best start of the season in the previous outing, holding the Miami Marlins scoreless on two hits in six frames. Wheeler allowed three runs in six innings to suffer a loss to the Nationals on April 3 and is 1-3 with a 4.07 ERA in four career starts against the division rivals.Zimmermann posted two straight scoreless starts before struggling through 5 2/3 innings at Arizona on Monday. The Wisconsin native was reached for five runs on a season-high 10 hits but did not factor in the decision as Washington came through with a 6-5 win. Zimmermann is 4-5 with a 3.22 ERA in 16 career starts against New York.WALK-OFFS1. The Mets are 0-8 in their last eight games when failing to score at least five runs.2. Washington 3B Anthony Rendon is 5-for-35 over the last nine games to drop his average to .271.3. New York RF Curtis Granderson got the day off on Saturday against a left-handed starter but figures to return to the lineup against Zimmermann.PREDICTION: Nationals 4, Mets 1