Nationals-Diamondbacks Preview

The Washington Nationals own one of the worst road records in

baseball, though they kicked off their 11-game road trip with a

solid performance.

Now on the brink of equaling their longest winning streak of the

season, they may look for another boost from the pitching

staff.

Yunesky Maya will make his second start Friday night when

Washington visits the Arizona Diamondbacks to continue a four-game

set.

The Nationals (25-31) snapped a five-game road skid Thursday

with a 6-1 win against Arizona, improving to 11-19 away from home.

Still, Washington has lost eight of its last 10 road games and the

19 losses are tied for the second most in the majors.

Maya (0-0, 7.71 ERA) will make his first road start as the

Nationals seek to win four straight for the first time since April

15-20. He allowed four runs through 4 2-3 innings in his season

debut Sunday replacing the injured Tom Gorzelanny, who is on the

disabled list recovering from inflammation in his left elbow.

Maya will be searching for his first big-league victory after

also going winless in five starts in 2010. However, the pitching

staff recently has been a catalyst during Washington’s run.

Starters Jason Marquis, John Lannan and Jordan Zimmermann

combined for a 1.45 ERA in 18 2-3 innings over the last three

games. Drew Storen has saved the last two victories, and the

bullpen has combined to allow only four hits over 8 1-3 scoreless

innings during the streak.

Michael Morse matched a career high with four hits Thursday to

extend his hitting streak to 11 games. He’s is hitting .455 with

five home runs and 15 RBIs during that stretch. He also contributed

defensively.

”Mike Morse saved me big time at first with a couple of diving

plays,” Zimmermann said.

Morse entered that contest 3 for 18 in five games against

Arizona, which has lost two of three after winning 15 of its

previous 17.

The Diamondbacks (31-26) went 0 for 9 with runners in scoring

position and scored fewer than two runs for the first time in 19

games.

”We didn’t play very good,” manager Kirk Gibson said. ”Not a

lot went right for us.”

Justin Upton continued his hot streak, going 2 for 3. He’s

hitting .588 (10 for 17) with two home runs over his last four

games.

However, Upton hasn’t fared very well against Washington in his

career. Prior to Thursday, he was hitting .190 with one home run in

16 career meetings.

Arizona will send rookie Josh Collmenter (3-1, 1.49 ERA) to the

mound in hopes of getting back on track. The right-hander has gone

2-1 with a 1.61 ERA in four starts since replacing Barry Enright,

who was sent to Triple-A Reno on May 12.

Collmenter allowed two runs in six innings of Arizona’s 4-2 win

against Houston on Sunday. He’s allowed four earned runs in 22 1-3

innings with opponents hitting .160 against him as a starter.

Collmenter has never faced the Nationals, who have beaten the

Diamondbacks in 10 of the last 14 meetings.