The Washington Nationals pitching staff hasn’t been able to match the recent success of the offense.
After losing three straight, Washington (48-49) has alternated wins and losses in its last six games. After winning the series opener 5-2 Monday, the Nationals lost 7-6 to the Astros on Tuesday.
Washington, which failed to rally late, has scored 24 runs in its last four games. The Nationals, though, have a 5.19 staff ERA in that span, and Jordan Zimmermann(notes) was tagged for six runs in five innings Tuesday.
“That was a tough game,” Nationals manager Davey Johnson said. “I liked our offense. I didn’t like our pitching so much.”
Hernandez (5-9, 4.09 ERA) is winless in his last three starts, giving up 14 runs and 24 hits in 16 2-3 innings. He was reached for six runs—three earned— in four innings of an 11-1 loss at Atlanta on Friday, dropping to 1-7 on the road.
The right-hander, though, is 7-3 lifetime in Houston and 10-6 with a 4.35 ERA against the Astros overall.
Houston (32-65) is hoping the small steps Brett Myers(notes) (3-10, 4.86) made in the latter parts of his last start will carry over as he seeks to end a four-start losing streak. He gave up three runs early but did finish with a season-high 11 strikeouts in six innings Friday of a 4-0 defeat to Pittsburgh.
“To see the six strikeouts out of the 11 hitters he faced after the triple in that third inning, was pretty good,” manager Brad Mills(notes) told the Astros’ official website. “He was using his pitches to both sides of the plate, and it was nice to see him so aggressive.”
Myers is 3-1 with a 1.50 ERA in his last five starts against Washington, and 10-9 with a 4.05 ERA overall. His most important task might be cooling off Michael Morse(notes), who is 6 for 7 in the series with two home runs. He homered and had two doubles in Tuesday’s loss.
The Astros, who have dropped 17 of 21, have not won consecutive games since June 17 and 18 over the Los Angeles Dodgers.