The Pirates begin a six-game road swing with a three-game series against the Nationals at RFK Stadium on Tuesday.
Pittsburgh (24-33) lost to the Los Angeles Dodgers 6-5 on Monday, completing a seven-game homestand with just two wins. While the Pirates have the third-worst home record in the league at 11-19, they have won three of their last four away from PNC Park.
Washington (23-34), meanwhile, has the fourth-worst home record in the NL (13-17), and is 2-4 on its current nine-game homestand.
Pittsburgh’s Xavier Nady hit his ninth homer of the season on Monday, and is 7-for-18 (.389) with two home runs and five RBIs in his last four road games.
Left fielder Jason Bay is batting .563 (9-for-16) with two homers and eight RBIs in his last four road games, and was 8-for-24 with a home run and seven RBIs in six games against the Nationals last season.
Shawn Chacon (1-0, 2.84 ERA) looks to carry some momentum from his last outing in Tuesday’s series opener.
Chacon made 16 appearances out of the bullpen before replacing the ineffective Tony Armas in the Pirates’ rotation. He’s coming off a dominating performance, striking out 10 in seven shutout innings while allowing only three hits, but the bullpen squandered his gem as Pittsburgh lost 4-2 in 11 innings.
“I kind of had an invisible ball I guess with those swing and misses. That’s just something to build on,” Chacon told the Pirates’ official Web site.
In his only start against the Nationals last season, the right-hander allowed six runs in 4 1-3 innings of an 11-9 loss for the New York Yankees on June 17. Chacon is 2-2 with a 4.14 ERA in eight games—six starts—lifetime against the Washington franchise.
The Nationals lost 7-3 to San Diego on Sunday, and own the second-worst record in the NL.
Shortstop Cristian Guzman is batting .571 (12-for-21) with seven runs in his last five games, while Ryan Zimmerman, who hit a two-run homer in Sunday’s 7-3 loss to the Padres, has two home runs and eight RBIs in his last four.
Mike Bacsik (1-1, 2.29) seeks another solid outing when he makes his fourth start of the season on Tuesday.
Bacsik, who is pitching in the majors for the first time since 2004, has been doing an admirable job as a replacement for the injured Jason Bergmann, but hasn’t been getting much help from his offense.
He gave up four runs—two earned—and six hits in six innings of a 5-0 loss to Wednesday. The left-hander has allowed two earned runs or less in two of his starts, but his offense has scored just one run in those games.
“I have confidence in myself. I’ve had it the whole time,” Bacsik told the Nationals’ official Web site. “Being in the minor leagues, you look at the transactions and see some guys go up and you think, ‘Gosh, you can do better than he can.’”
This will be Bacsik’s first career start against the Pirates.