Although they’ve struggled offensively during a season-worst road skid, the short-handed Washington Nationals are looking to change that in a three-game set against baseball’s worst pitching staff.
With Adam LaRoche becoming the latest on the disabled list, the Nationals will try to avoid their sixth straight road defeat while dealing the Arizona Diamondbacks their 16th loss in 19 home games Monday night.
Washington lost another key slugger Sunday when it placed LaRoche on the disabled list with a right quad strain. The first baseman, hitting .319 with five home runs and 21 RBIs, joins stars Bryce Harper and Ryan Zimmerman on the shelf.
"We’ve got a good team regardless," shortstop Ian Desmond told the team’s official website. "We found out in spring training that we’ve got tons of depth in the minor leagues. We’ve got guys coming and we’ve shown that so far. We’ve kept our heads afloat minus some big boppers this year."
Still, those absences will be tough to overcome for the Nationals (19-18), who have totaled 16 runs and batted .215 while dropping six of their last eight games. They’ve also scored only six times with a .156 average during their road losing streak.
Washington was swept at Oakland on Sunday after managing seven hits – all singles – in a 9-1 loss.
Anthony Rendon has fallen into a slump away from home, going 3 for 25 over his last six games there. But Jayson Werth broke out with two hits Sunday following a 1-for-14 road stretch.
While Rendon was 8 for 20 in five games versus Arizona in 2013, Werth is 8 for 16 with a homer in his last five at Chase Field.
Now they’re facing an Arizona team that has a major league-worst 5.36 ERA at home and a baseball-worst 3-15 record. The Diamondbacks (15-25), however, hope to build on a 6-3 road trip in which they posted a 3.45 ERA following Sunday’s 5-1 win over the Chicago White Sox.
Josh Collmenter (1-2, 3.44 ERA) has had one quality start in five opportunities since joining the rotation April 14, though the Diamondbacks have won his last three outings.
The right-hander will try to bounce back after allowing a season-high five runs – one earned – over 5 2-3 innings in Tuesday’s 7-5 win in Milwaukee. He did not factor in that decision as Arizona took the lead with a three-run eighth inning.
Collmenter has allowed five hits over nine scoreless innings in three meetings with Washington. In his only start against the Nationals, he pitched three-hit ball for seven innings in a 1-0 victory June 3, 2011.
Washington’s Jordan Zimmermann (2-1, 2.92) has gone 2-1 with a 1.78 ERA in his last five starts. He’s also looking to extend a 10 1-3-inning scoreless streak after giving up five hits over four innings last Monday before a rain delay ended his night in a 4-0 home win over the Los Angeles Dodgers.
The right-hander has been particularly effective in two road starts, surrendering two runs with 14 strikeouts over 13 1-3 innings to win both outings. In his only start at Chase Field, Zimmermann limited the Diamondbacks to one run and six hits over seven innings in a 6-1 victory June 2, 2011.
Arizona’s Gerardo Parra and Miguel Montero homered to key Sunday’s win. Parra has reached base in 18 consecutive games and is batting .333 with two homers during a nine-game hitting streak.
Martin Prado has batted .400 in his last 11 games against the Nationals, and is 7 for 14 lifetime versus Zimmermann.
The Nationals have won eight of the last 11 meetings, taking two of three in Arizona last September.