WASHINGTON -- The Washington Nationals have struggled at the plate for the past week.
Perhaps facing Christian Friedrich could break the first-place team out of its funk.
Friedrich will start in the series finale on Sunday at Nationals Park and he will try to turn around a rough trend for him against Washington.
The left-hander is 0-3 in four games, with three starts, and a 10.85 ERA in his career against Washington. This year, he is 4-6 with a 4.55 ERA for the Padres.
"It didn't fare so well last time" against Washington, he said. "A big power hitting team, I have to find the bottom of the zone and work ahead. I need an aggressive mentality and to get ahead."
Padres manager Andy Green thinks the left-hander is close to turning things around.
"He's been so close to having some really good starts in his last few starts. I think he has to really be stubborn to what he does well. He can really attack and angle in on right-handed hitters; he has to stay true to that," Green said.
One nemesis has been Washington outfielder Jayson Werth, who is 3-for-4 against Friedrich in limited action. Nationals shortstop Danny Espinosa is 3-for-7 against the lefty and infielder Daniel Murphy is 2-for-4 with a homer.
There is a good chance that right-handed hitter Trea Turner could bat leadoff Sunday against lefty Friedrich. Ben Revere, a left-handed hitter who has struggled, has batted leadoff most of the season. He was 0-for-5 on Friday and then started as the leadoff hitter again Saturday and was 1-for-3 as the Nationals won 3-2 with a walk-off triple in the ninth inning by Stephen Drew.
"When you start the season hurt, you're playing catch-up. You would think he would've caught up by now. He's our igniter. We need him," Washington manager Dusty Baker said Saturday of Revere.
The Nationals are slated to start young right-hander Lucas Giolito, who made his big league debut at home on June 28 against the New York Mets.
He pitched four scoreless innings before the rains came and he did not return after the delay. The Californian made his second big league start in New York on July 7 and did not fare nearly as well as he was taken out early.
"I didn't really have good command from the start of the game," he told reporters after his start in New York. "And once I started to give up a lot of hard contact, the game started to speed up, and I kind of sped up with the game and was rushing through everything."
Giolito was sent to Triple-A Syracuse and he started for the Chiefs on Tuesday. He went 6 2/3 innings and gave up seven hits and no runs in a win over Gwinnett, a farm team of the Atlanta Braves. This year in the minors he is 6-3 with a 3.08 ERA in 16 starts at three levels.