Home or away, the Washington Nationals continue to pile up
The Nationals look for an eighth consecutive win overall and on
the road Saturday night against the Arizona Diamondbacks.
While Washington (70-43) has taken care of business by going
32-22 at home, a big reason for its overall success is a major
league-best 38-21 mark on the road. In the midst of their longest
road winning stretch since a nine-game run Sept. 12-26, the
Nationals have won 11 of 12 away from home. They not have dropped a
road series since losing two of three at Baltimore from June
Stephen Strasburg allowed one run and one hit over six innings
while Ryan Zimmerman and Michael Morse each homered to help
Washington improve to 5-0 on a 10-game trip with a 9-1 victory at
Arizona on Friday.
The Nationals’ seven-game overall winning streak is their
longest since an eight-game run June 10-18, 2011. They have a 4
1/2-game lead over Atlanta in NL East.
“It’s starting to get more exciting,” said second baseman Steve
Lombardozzi, who had a career-high four hits in the opener.
Morse, who has homered three times in two games, is batting .356
with six home runs and 16 RBIs during a 14-game road hitting
Despite their current success, the Nationals could face a stiff
challenge against scheduled Arizona starter Wade Miley (12-7, 2.85
ERA). After giving up a solo homer and two other hits in eight
innings of an 8-2 win at Los Angeles on July 31, the All-Star
followed that effort by conceding only an unearned run in six
innings of a 4-0 loss at Pittsburgh on Monday.
“I wasn’t executing, but we were able to keep it to one, so it
wasn’t bad,” Miley said.
The left-hander recorded his first career win in his second
major league start Aug. 25 when he allowed five hits over six
scoreless innings of an 8-1 victory at Washington.
Miley will try to help Arizona (57-56) avoid a fourth
consecutive loss to the Nationals. Chris Johnson’s RBI single was
one of three hits Friday for the Diamondbacks, who have lost five
of seven overall.
Johnson has batted .333 with 17 RBIs in 11 games since Arizona
acquired him from Houston on July 29.
The Diamondbacks look to bounce against former teammate Edwin
Jackson (6-7, 3.56), who has allowed two runs over 12 1-3 innings
while going 1-0 in his last two road starts. He gave up those runs
and two hits while striking out eight in 5 1-3 innings of a 5-4,
11-inning victory at Houston on Monday.
Despite that solid effort, Jackson hopes to be more efficient
after failing to last past the sixth inning for a second straight
“The game was good enough to keep us close,” the right-hander
said. “I have to do a better job of coming out and getting ahead in
the count and putting guys away earlier. I have to do a better job
of going out there and attacking the strike zone to go later in the
Jackson, who went 6-10 with a 5.16 ERA and threw a no-hitter for
Arizona in 2010, is 1-2 with a 3.86 ERA in five starts against his
former team. He allowed four runs in six innings while not
factoring in the decision of a 5-4 home win over the Diamondbacks
on May 2.