A frustrating road trip for the Nationals ends today in Phoenix with a matinee against the Diamondbacks at Chase Field. The Nats got swept in Oakland and have split the first two games of this series, so even a win today would send them home only 2-4 on the trip. A loss would leave them 1-5, not to mention with a .500 record 40 games into the season.
All eyes will be on Doug Fister, who makes his second start of the season, hoping for significant improvement from his debut on Friday night. The key: Fister must keep the ball down in the zone, something he couldn’t do against the Athletics. This is especially true at Chase Field, a hitter’s park that only surrenders even more home runs when the roof is closed as it will be today.
The Nationals’ already-depleted lineup will be without Wilson Ramos, given the day game after the night game off. That leaves Ian Desmond hitting cleanup, with Danny Espinosa fifth and Tyler Moore sixth against Arizona right-hander Brandon McCarthy.