The Davey Johnson era with the Washington Nationals has started with a resounding thud.
Washington will try to avoid being swept in its first series under the new manager Wednesday against the Los Angeles Angels, who seek their first home sweep of 2011.
Washington had won 13 of 15 under Jim Riggleman, who quit last week in a contract dispute, and John McLaren before Johnson took over the reins in Anaheim. Though it’s just two games, the Nationals are batting .236 while the pitching staff has compiled a 7.27 ERA.
In an 11-5 loss Tuesday, Washington (40-40) committed five errors for the first time since Sept. 7, 2007.
“We’ve been playing great baseball up to this point, and we’ve really been battling our tails off,” said shortstop Ian Desmond(notes), who committed two miscues and has 11 this year. “So I don’t think anybody in here is going to have any problem bouncing back (Wednesday).”
Washington is tied for 18th in the majors with 46 errors.
The right-hander is 3-0 with a 1.05 ERA in five starts this month, but failed to record a decision his last time out despite a solid effort. He scattered six hits in seven scoreless innings Friday, however the Nationals squandered a three-run lead in the ninth and one-run cushions in the 10th and 12th before beating the Chicago White Sox 9-5 in 14 innings.
“After the first inning, I’d say everything was working good,” Zimmermann told the team’s official website. “Baseball’s a weird thing. There’s highs and lows, and I’m pretty sure we hit every high and low you can have tonight.”
He’s 0-1 with a 1.35 ERA in two career interleague starts on the road.
The Angels (41-40), which posted sweeps at Tampa Bay and against the White Sox in April, have won 11 of 16 to move over .500 for the first time since June 3. Los Angeles also has won 16 straight when scoring at least four runs, the longest such streak by any team this season.
“It’s good to see some fireworks tonight,” Wells said. “Obviously, we haven’t seen them much at home, and the home fans deserve a little more than we’ve given them. So it’s good to have an outburst like this.”
The right-hander has alternated losses and wins in his last six starts, and now will be looking to win back-to-back starts for the first time since stringing together four straight victories from April 6-17.
Though he tied a season high by allowing 10 hits, Haren rebounded from his worst loss of the season by defeating the Los Angeles Dodgers on Friday. He gave up three runs, struck out three and walked one over 6 2-3 innings in the 8-3 victory.
“It was a circus out there. I wore my pants up to try to change my luck,” Haren said. “The offense picked me up and I was able to pitch out of some jams. It definitely wasn’t pretty. I was struggling to put guys away.”
Haren is 2-2 with a 3.10 ERA in five games against the Nationals, whom he has not faced with the Angels.