Diamondbacks-Nationals Preview

The Arizona Diamondbacks have a chance to end a grueling trip on

an extremely positive note. That’s if they can find some rare

success against Washington’s John Lannan.

Lannan tries for a fourth consecutive victory over the NL

West-leading Diamondbacks, who hope another casually late arrival

to the ballpark will result in a third straight win over the

Nationals on Thursday night.

After extending its winning streak to seven with a 3-2 victory

over Philadelphia to open this 10-game trip, Arizona (71-59)

dropped a season-high six straight to the Phillies, Atlanta and

Washington (62-66) before beating the Nationals 2-0 on Tuesday.

In an attempt to relax the Diamondbacks, manager Kirk Gibson

decided the team would show up later than usual and skip batting

practice for that game. Arizona followed the same protocol

Wednesday and it resulted in a 4-2 win.

“We’ve got to keep the superstition going, you know? And this is

a game with a lot of superstition,” said All-Star catcher Miguel

Montero, who had two RBIs.

Arizona scored its most runs of the trip after totaling 12 in

the previous eight games.

It will be interesting to see if the Diamondbacks’ casual

approach will make a difference against Lannan (8-9, 3.61 ERA), who

is 3-1 with a 1.04 ERA versus Arizona.

The only two runs the left-hander gave up in his last three

starts against the Diamondbacks came over seven innings of a 4-2

home win last August.

Lannan is 0-2 in his last three starts despite posting a 3.21

ERA, as eight of the 13 runs he’s allowed have been unearned. Three

of the five runs he yielded in five innings of Saturday’s 5-0 loss

to the Phillies were earned.

Montero, 4 for 12 with three RBIs in his last four games, is 0

for 3 versus Lannan.

Aaron Hill and John McDonald each went 0 for 4 on Wednesday in

their first game since Arizona acquired the infielders from Toronto

a day early.

The Diamondbacks hope Wade Miley’s second career start goes

better than his debut, when the left-hander allowed five runs in

four innings of an 8-1 loss at Atlanta on Saturday.

“I wish I could have had a better outcome, but it was an awesome

experience,” said Miley, who was called up to replace the injured

Jason Marquis. “I have to put it behind me, work on some things and

then move on.”

Washington’s Ryan Zimmerman had his streak of reaching base end

at 29 games after going 0 for 4 on Wednesday. Zimmerman has hit

.388 with 15 RBIs in his last 30 games but is 2 for 12 with four

strikeouts in the series.

Washington avoided being shut out for the third time in five

games when Laynce Nix and Jonny Gomes hit back-to-back homers in

the ninth Wednesday. The offensive struggles could continue if

Jayson Werth misses a second straight game with a strained

groin.

Werth is batting just .232 with 15 homers and 48 RBIs, but he

was hitting .360 (9 for 25) in six games before getting hurt

Tuesday.

“He would play if we were in a pennant race or something, but

there’s no sense,” manager Davey Johnson told the Nationals’

official website.