A lineup change and the return of Wilson Ramos may have gotten
their offense on the right track, but the Washington Nationals
haven’t had much trouble scoring lately with Gio Gonzalez on the
The Nationals look to build off their latest effort at the plate
for the left-hander Friday night when they host the San Diego
Padres, losers of a season-high six straight.
After Washington (43-42) was limited to one run and 13 hits in
losses Tuesday and Wednesday, manager Davey Johnson mixed things up
Thursday. He moved shortstop Ian Desmond up to second in the
batting order and dropped outfielder Jayson Werth down to
The immediate results were positive as Desmond and Werth went a
combined 6 for 7 in an 8-5 victory over Milwaukee to split the
four-game home series.
“Yeah, that came out all right,” Johnson said. “You know, once
in a while I have a great idea.”
After missing 44 games because of a strained left hamstring,
Ramos went 3 for 4 with a career-high five RBIs and hit a go-ahead,
three-run homer in the seventh inning.
“He’s a statement player,” Desmond said of Ramos. “And
definitely somebody who’s waiting for his turn in the
Star Bryce Harper hasn’t done as well in his four games back
after being sidelined with a knee injury. He’s 1 for 15 with a
homer and six strikeouts, though he has homered in three of four
career games against the Padres (40-46).
The Nationals have been swinging the bats well for Gonzalez
(5-3, 3.09 ERA), giving him 17 runs to help him win his last two
starts. He had received 13 total runs during an eight-start winless
streak prior to those victories.
Gonzalez yielded three hits over seven shutout innings to beat
the New York Mets 13-2 on Sunday, leaving him 2-0 with 44
strikeouts and a 1.79 ERA in 40 1-3 innings over his last six
Gonzalez, 1-0 with a 1.42 ERA in two career starts against the
Padres, gave up three runs in 6 2-3 innings before leaving without
a decision in a 6-5 win at San Diego on May 17.
This time, Gonzalez faces a struggling San Diego team that has
totaled seven runs while batting .180 during its losing streak.
Logan Forsythe, Chase Headley and Pedro Ciriaco are a combined 6
for 62 over that span.
“I think it’s looked worse than it has been,” Headley said.
“We’ve had some at-bats in situations where we had a chance to
drive in runs and the guys hit the ball hard and it just hasn’t
gone in the hole for us.”
Jesus Guzman provided a bright spot with three hits as the
Padres dropped to 1-6 on their road trip with an 8-2 loss at Boston
Everth Cabrera, who leads the team with a .305 average and tops
the NL with 31 steals, was activated from the disabled list Friday
after missing 17 games with an injured left hamstring. San Diego
went 5-12 without Cabrera, who is in the starting lineup.
The Padres hope to avoid their longest losing streak since a
nine-game skid from Aug. 24-Sept. 3, 2011, as they give the ball to
Andrew Cashner (5-3, 3.31) to open this three-game series.
The right-hander has gone 1-0 with a 2.78 ERA while receiving 13
runs to work with in his last five outings. He allowed two runs
over six innings and did not fare in the decision in a 6-2 loss at
Miami on Sunday.
Cashner gave up three runs over 6 2-3 innings in a 13-4 win in
his only career start against the Nationals on May 19.
The teams split that four-game series in San Diego.