Diamondbacks-Nationals Preview

The Arizona Diamondbacks have been outscored by 21 runs over

their last seven games, yet they’re still clinging to the NL West

lead.

Luckily for them, the Washington Nationals are having some

offensive problems of their own.

Each team looks to end those woes Wednesday night when they

continue their four-game series at Nationals Park.

Arizona (70-59) got its only offense from an unlikely source

Tuesday, when Sean Burroughs hit his first home run since April 30,

2005 – a two-run shot in the seventh – and the Diamondbacks ended a

six-game losing streak with a 2-0 victory.

The Diamondbacks have been outscored 30-9 during their 1-6

slump, scoring two runs or less with no more than six hits in each

of those contests.

Tuesday’s game was delayed due to a small earthquake in

Richmond, Va., which made Arizona’s bus get caught in traffic.

Manager Kirk Gibson, who planned to keep his team from hitting

batting practice regardless, didn’t seem to mind.

“We have a 4:15 bus again tomorrow, no BP, and I’m going to try

and call another earthquake,” Gibson joked. “If the earthquake

doesn’t show up, we’ll do the rest the same.”

With the offense already hurting, Justin Upton left the game in

the middle of the fifth inning with a left elbow contusion after

being hit by a pitch in the fourth. There was no immediate word if

the injury will keep Upton out of Wednesday’s game.

Hoping to spark their lineup, the Diamondbacks traded struggling

second baseman Kelly Johnson to Toronto in exchange for John

McDonald and 2009 All-Star Aaron Hill. It’s unknown if either will

play Wednesday.

Daniel Hudson (12-9, 3.83 ERA) will make his first career start

against Washington and may be due for a good performance.

Hudson has been inconsistent of late, following a solid outing

with a rough one over his last four starts. After beating San

Francisco 6-1 on Aug. 2, Hudson allowed seven runs in three innings

of a 9-1 loss to Houston on Aug. 8. He recovered to beat New York

6-4 with eight strong innings five days later, then allowed four

runs in six innings of a 4-2 loss at Atlanta on Friday.

The right-hander is 3-4 with a 4.55 ERA over his last nine

starts and will face a Nationals lineup going through its own

struggles.

Washington (62-65) was shut out for the second time in four

games Tuesday, and its six hits were the least in 12 contests.

Jayson Werth had two hits and is batting .360 during a six-game

hitting streak, but he left the game in the ninth inning. Werth

said he had a mild hip flexor injury, though manager Davey Johnson

said it was a groin strain. Werth is questionable for

Wednesday.

“We’ll see if Davey wants me to play tomorrow,” Werth said.

Livan Hernandez (7-11, 4.34) takes the mound and looks to

improve on his recent success versus Arizona after going 6-2 with a

2.54 ERA in his last nine matchups.

The veteran right-hander suffered a tough loss to the

Diamondbacks on June 4, falling 2-0 after giving up two runs and

four hits in seven innings.

Hernandez allowed four runs in four innings against Philadelphia

on Friday before the Nationals rallied for six runs in the ninth

for an 8-4 win.