Nationals look to Stephen Strasburg for another lift
Just when the Washington Nationals had an opportunity to amass a three-game winning streak and continue making their way back toward .500, they ran into another hot pitcher, this time San Diego's Mat Latos. In their 7-1 home loss last night, the Nationals had few answers for Latos, who ran his record to 10-4 by allowing five hits and two walks over seven scoreless innings.
An offense that had victimized the Padres for 13 runs and 20 hits over the first two games of the series struggled mightily against the 22-year-old Latos, who had eight strikeouts and lowered his ERA to 2.45 to help NL West-leading San Diego log its 50th win.
"He's a good pitcher," said Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman, who an hour before the first pitch found out he was the runner-up for the final spot on the NL All-Star team over four days of fan voting. "He mixes it up. He's obviously got a good fastball. He's been throwing well all year."
The Nationals now turn to Stephen Strasburg tonight to try to get the club jumpstarted in their final series before the All-Star break. Problem is Strasburg goes against San Francisco's Matt Cain, who despite a 6-7 record has an ERA of 2.98 and a WHIP of 1.16.
Washington, however, may be catching Cain at just the right time. He has lost three straight games and yielded 14 earned runs in those outings. He had allowed four earned runs total in his six starts before the slide.
"Most definitely you like to see that," Nationals center fielder Nyjer Morgan said of the Strasburg-Cain matchup. "But we know what we have over here, and we're going to try to make it happen tomorrow."
FROM THE POST
The Nationals can't solve San Diego starter Mat Latos in a 7-1 loss.
NATS MINOR LEAGUES
Potomac 7, Frederick 4: Jordan Zimmermann threw three scoreless inning in his second rehab start since Tommy John surgery in August.
FROM AROUND THE WEB
The Nationals can't ride the momentum of two straight wins.
Padres' Mat Latos is too much for Washington both on the mound and at the plate.
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