Milwaukee (4-7) at Washington (6-5)

Cloudy Currently: Washington, DC
Temp: 59° F
  • Game info: 1:35 pm EDT Sun Apr 18, 2010
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Staring at a potential series sweep is an unfamiliar position for the Washington Nationals. To complete it, they’ll almost certainly need a better start from Jason Marquis(notes).

The Nationals are over .500 for the first time in two years, and they’ll give the ball to the struggling Marquis as they meet the Milwaukee Brewers on Sunday.

Washington (6-5) split six road games with New York and Philadelphia before opening a 10-game homestand, and it’s off to a great start. John Lannan(notes) pitched seven strong innings in Friday’s 5-3 win, then Livan Hernandez(notes) went all nine Saturday and was aided by three RBIs from Ivan Rodriguez(notes) in an 8-0 victory.

“He’s been in baseball a long time. I’ve been in baseball a long time. We know what to do,” said Rodriguez, hitting .419 with six RBIs in his last four games.

Hernandez, who pitched his first shutout since July 30, 2004, and Rodriguez helped put Washington over .500 for the first time since April 4, 2008.

The Nationals now turn to Marquis (0-2, 12.96 ERA), who will be looking to pitch better than he has in his first two starts. The free agent pickup, an All-Star in Colorado last season, has allowed 13 runs over 8 1-3 innings in losing twice to the Phillies.

“I’m not happy, but not concerned,” Marquis told the Nationals’ official website after a 7-4 defeat Monday. “I know what I need to do to get back on track. It’s just a matter of just doing it. … I just have to make better pitches. I have to get the ball consistently down in the zone.”

Marquis is 0-2 with a 6.48 ERA in four games - three starts - against the Brewers over the last two seasons.

Milwaukee (4-7) counters with Doug Davis(notes) (0-1, 12.27), who has lasted even fewer innings than Marquis in his two starts. The left-hander gave up four runs over four innings against Colorado on April 7, then allowed six runs over 3 1-3 innings of a 9-5 loss in Chicago on Monday.

“Doug’s just been off his game his first two starts,” manager Ken Macha said. “He has in the past given us quality starts. That’s why we got him.”

Davis has a 2.25 ERA in his last four starts against Washington, though he’s 0-2.

“It’s going to take a couple of good, quality starts to get back in it,” Davis told the Brewers’ official website. “I’m hoping to redeem myself in my next couple of starts.”

The Nationals got their best hitter back in the lineup for the first time in a week Saturday when Ryan Zimmerman(notes) returned from a strained left hamstring. He had two doubles and two RBIs.

Washington’s third baseman may find facing Davis a bit tougher, though. Zimmerman is 0 for 8 with three strikeouts against Davis.

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Starting Pitchers

D. Davis KC vs. J. Marquis Cin
1-4 Record 2-9
7.51 ERA 6.60
34 K 31
21 BB 24
1.98 WHIP 1.70


Sunday, Apr 18