The left-hander looks to lead Washington to its first winning month of the season Tuesday in the opener of a three-game series against the Cincinnati Reds.
Chico (4-6, 4.78 ERA) is the only Nationals starter from the opening day roster who has not missed a turn in the rotation. The rookie, however, is winless in his last three starts, allowing four or more runs in each of those outings.
He gave up four runs and six hits over 4 2-3 innings in Washington’s 7-5, 14-inning loss at Philadelphia on Wednesday.
Chico and the Nationals are opening a six-game homestand Tuesday, which also includes a series against St. Louis. Washington has played well at home recently, winning seven of its last nine at RFK Stadium.
Chico is 4-1 with a 4.65 ERA in 11 starts at home, with the Nationals going 8-3 in those games.
Washington (45-60) went 3-4 on its recent road trip, splitting a four-game series with the New York Mets after losing two of three against the Phillies. The Nationals closed out the trip with a 5-0, rain-shortened loss Sunday to New York.
“The grounds crew did what they had to do. It’s just too bad the rain did not allow us to continue the game,” manager Manny Acta told the team’s official Web site. “I can’t complain whatsoever. The umpires did a good job during the situation.”
The Nationals failed to clinch their first winning month this season. Washington is 13-12 in July after going 10-16 in June.
Chico has made one start against Cincinnati (45-61), but did not receive a decision after allowing four runs and three hits in 5 2-3 innings of an 8-4 win on May 22.
The Reds come into Tuesday’s game after a disappointing end to their homestand. Cincinnati won three of four against Milwaukee last week, but dropped two of three to the Chicago Cubs, including a 6-0 loss on Sunday.
Cincinnati had just three hits Sunday and Ken Griffey Jr. went 0-for-3 to extend his slump to 5-for-36 (.139) in the last 10 games.
The Reds were scheduled to start Kyle Lohse on Tuesday, but they traded him to the Phillies on Monday for minor league pitcher Matt Maloney.
Bobby Livingston (2-1, 3.72) will take the mound in Lohse’s place and make his sixth career start. He pitched on Thursday against the Brewers, allowing three runs and five hits in six innings of a 6-5, 10-inning win.
Livingston has never faced the Nationals.
Washington won three of four against the Reds in Cincinnati May 21-24, but the Nationals have lost seven of the last nine home meetings in the series.
The Reds and Nationals have the second- and third-worst records in the National League, respectively. Only Pittsburgh has a worse winning percentage.