Padres-Nationals Preview

The Washington Nationals have baffled the visiting San Diego Padres over the last two games.

Manager Bud Black’s team, though, could catch a break against Washington’s Taylor Jordan, who hasn’t been able to keep anyone in check of late.

Jordan tries to snap a three-start losing streak as he takes the hill opposite Ian Kennedy in Sunday’s series finale.

The Nationals (14-11) have kept the Padres’ bats quiet since falling 4-3 in 12 innings in the opener of this four-game set, winning 11-1 on Friday and 4-0 on Saturday. San Diego didn’t have an extra-base hit in either of those games, as Washington’s Tanner Roark followed a dominating performance from Stephen Strasburg with a three-hitter for his first career complete game.

Ian Desmond also came up big with three hits for the second consecutive game. The Nationals have won five of six at home against San Diego by a combined 42-21 score since the start of last season.

Washington now turns to Jordan (0-3, 6.23), who made national headlines for all the wrong reasons after serving up home runs Nos. 499 and 500 to Albert Pujols in Tuesday’s 7-2 loss to the Angels. The right-hander gave up six runs – four earned – in five innings, dropping to 0-3 with an 8.22 ERA in his last three outings. He’s allowed 25 hits in 15 1-3 innings during that span.

While the Nationals could seemingly give Jordan’s rotation spot to Ross Detwiler until Doug Fister returns from injury, manager Matt Williams plans to keep things as is for the time being.

"Of course we would consider it, but not because of (Tuesday)," Williams told MLB’s official website.

Jordan has surrendered three homers in 21 2-3 innings, matching his total from last year’s rookie season when he threw 51 2-3 innings. He has never faced the Padres (11-14), who are hitting .194 during a 2-5 slide.

Only two San Diego players who started Saturday ended the game with a batting average above .200.

"We do hope that the offense gets better, that guys get to their career averages – at some point," Black said.

The Padres, batting .169 with runners in scoring position on the road, has scored three runs or fewer in all but one of its last 10 games overall.

"We’re going to get out of this sooner or later," said catcher Rene Rivera, who broke up Roark’s perfect game with a one-out single in the sixth inning. "We just have to keep playing baseball. I still think we’ve got a good ballclub."

They’ll try to get going offensively behind Kennedy (1-3, 3.60 ERA), who has pitched well but doesn’t have much to show for it. The right-hander, limiting opponents to a .214 average, has struck out 28 and walked eight over five starts spanning 30 innings while receiving a combined nine runs of support.

Kennedy allowed one run and four hits over six innings Tuesday in a 2-1, 12-inning victory at Milwaukee.

He’s 2-1 with a 1.61 ERA in his last four starts against the Nationals, though he hasn’t faced them since 2012. Jayson Werth is 4 for 11 with a homer and a double against Kennedy, and Desmond is 4 for his last 10.

It’s looking like Kennedy won’t have to face Bryce Harper, who missed Saturday’s game with a jammed thumb. Harper, hitting .364 with three homers and 12 RBIs in nine games versus San Diego, is awaiting the results from an MRI.

Padres outfielder Will Venable, mired in a 2-for-21 slump, is 5 for his last 36 against Washington.