After prevailing in a variety of ways during their recent surge, the Washington Nationals will try to extend Mat Latos’ longest winless streak in four years.
Washington seeks a seventh victory in eight games Tuesday night against Latos and the visiting Miami Marlins.
The Nationals (13-14) seemed to hit rock bottom during a six-game losing streak from April 22-27, but have been virtually impossible to keep down over the past week. They blew Atlanta away with back-to-back 13-run performances in two wins last week, then stymied the New York Mets, holding them to six runs in taking three of four, including consecutive shutouts over the weekend.
Monday called for a late rally, as they scored four runs in the eighth inning of a 6-4 win over Miami. Yunel Escobar had a career-high five hits including the go-ahead single, and Ian Desmond is 5 for 11 over his last three games after homering. He had been 0 for 27 in his previous seven contests.
It gives them confidence that they’re not out of a game, which is a good thing, manager Matt Williams said.
Latos (0-3, 6.86 ERA) left due to a strained hamstring in the fifth inning Wednesday against the Mets, apparently injuring himself while running out a single after giving up three runs in an eventual 7-3 Marlins victory. He was cleared to start after throwing a successful bullpen session Saturday.
He threw and it went well, manager Mike Redmond told MLB’s official website. That’s good for us.
The right-hander’s seven-start winless stretch going back to last season is tied for his second-longest, trailing an 11-outing drought from Sept. 12, 2010-May 9, 2011.
Latos’ lone quality start with his new club came against the Nationals as he limited them to two runs over 6 1-3 innings in Miami’s 3-2 victory on April 24. He’s 0-2 in his last five matchups despite a 3.18 ERA, receiving four runs of support in 28 1-3 innings.
Washington’s Stephen Strasburg (2-2, 4.60) underwhelmed in April, though he comes off a better outing Thursday. He retired 10 straight after giving up two runs during a 5 1-3-inning effort in an 8-2 win against the Mets.
He was mediocre in an 8-0 loss at Miami on April 25, giving up four runs in six innings. The fireballer is 4-0 with a 1.85 ERA in nine matchups with the Marlins at Nationals Park since dropping his first career home start against them.
Miami (12-14) has given up six runs in back-to-back losses after winning nine of 10. The bullpen threw 8 1-3 scoreless innings in sweeping a home series from Washington from April 24-26, but was unreliable Monday with Bryan Morris allowing the four late runs in a blown save.
Giancarlo Stanton is 2 for 15 over his last four games after an 0-for-4 night, but he’s 12 for 30 with three homers and six doubles against Strasburg. Marcell Ozuna is 7 for 16 versus the right-hander.
Dee Gordon is 21 for 35 during a nine-game hitting streak, while Washington’s Wilson Ramos is 14 for 36 during his own nine-game run.
Two of Jayson Werth’s three multihit games have come against the Marlins, though he’s just 1 for 15 off Latos.
All three players to record a five-hit game this season played Monday: Escobar, Gordon and Denard Span.