After a dreadful end to August, the Arizona Diamondbacks have plenty of work to do if they hope to make the playoffs.
The Diamondbacks open September looking to make a run at the wild card when they play a day-night doubleheader against the Washington Nationals on Saturday at RFK Stadium after Friday’s series opener was rained out.
Arizona (64-69) lost 4-1 to San Diego on Wednesday, wrapping up a 2-4 homestand. The Diamondbacks dropped 10 of their final 14 games in August.
Arizona trails San Diego by 3 1/2 games for the wild card and is 7 1/2 behind the NL West-leading Los Angeles Dodgers.
“It’s terrible,” said outfielder Eric Byrnes, who batted .300 (10-for-30) with a homer and five RBIs during the homestand. “We’re at home, we’re not facing Cy Young, we’ve got to win these games and we didn’t.
“We’re going to have to go on a stretch and really play well on the road. If not, we start looking at next year.”
Batista has not lost since June 20, going 4-0 with two complete games and a 3.84 ERA in his last 12 starts. The Diamondbacks are 9-3 in that span.
The right-hander, though, failed to record a decision for the third straight game last Saturday, and has earned one decision in his last seven outings—a 5-3 win over San Francisco on Aug. 9.
Batista gave up three runs and four hits in eight innings against the Dodgers last Saturday, but Arizona lost 4-3.
Batista pitched for the Expos from 1998 until early 2000, when he was traded to Kansas City. He is 1-0 with a 4.26 ERA in eight appearances—three starts— against his former franchise, but has not faced the Nationals this season.
Traber will be making his first career start against Arizona.
The left-hander lost his second straight start Sunday, allowing a career-high eight runs and a season-high eight hits in just 2 2-3 innings of a 13-6 defeat to Atlanta.
“I didn’t pitch the greatest,” Traber said. “The bottom line is we didn’t make the pitches we were supposed to make. And when I say we, I mean me.”
Livan Hernandez (10-11, 5.27) takes the mound for the Diamondbacks in the nightcap as he returns to Washington for the first time since being traded from the Nationals on Aug. 7.
Hernandez represented Washington at the 2004 and ’05 All-Star Game, and compiled a 50-43 record since the start of the 2003 season during his time with the franchise.
The 11-year-veteran has struggled with Arizona, though, going 1-3 with a 4.88 ERA in four starts.
He allowed five runs and eight hits in six innings of a 6-3 loss to Los Angeles on Sunday.
“There’s nothing you can do but try to be ready for the next one,” the right-hander said. “I never put my head down, because if you put your head down, you’re not a professional.”
Hernandez has never faced his former club. He went 11-13 with a 4.66 ERA in 28 starts at RFK during his time with the Nationals.
Washington’s Jason Bergmann (0-1, 6.64), who has spent most of the season in the bullpen, makes his fourth start of the season in the second game as he takes the place of Mike O’Connor in the rotation.
Bergmann is 0-1 with a 5.82 ERA in three starts this season. In his last start, the right-hander allowed four runs and six hits in six innings of a 7-5 loss to Florida on Aug. 22, but didn’t factor in the decision.
He has not faced the Diamondbacks in 37 career appearances.