Diamondbacks-Nationals Preview


Though Stephen Strasburg has more losses than wins, he figures to even things out sooner than later if his recent efforts are any indication.

Patrick Corbin's undefeated record continues to speak for itself.

In what sets up as a pitchers' duel, Strasburg takes the mound opposite Corbin as the Washington Nationals go for a three-game sweep of the visiting Arizona Diamondbacks on Thursday.

After enduring some bad luck earlier in the year, Strasburg (4-6, 2.40 ERA) has taken matters into his own hands lately with a 3-1 record and a 1.46 ERA over his last six outings.

The hard-throwing right-hander delivered another superb performance Friday in a 2-1 win over Colorado, scattering five hits and striking out a season high-tying nine in seven innings.

"He threw great," manager Davey Johnson said of Strasburg, who's received less than three runs of support in 10 of his 14 starts. "We've been scoring practically nothing (for him). ... It was a big win for him."

Strasburg is just 3-3 at home despite a 1.13 ERA - baseball's second-lowest mark behind only teammate Jordan Zimmermann (1.09).

"As a competitor, you want to go out there and win every time," Strasburg told MLB's official website. "Sometimes, it's not going to work out that way, but the big thing is that you have to go out there with the same mentality every time out, regardless of what's happened in the past."

Strasburg is 1-0 with a 1.64 ERA in two matchups versus Arizona (41-36), which appears to have its own ace in the making in Corbin (9-0, 2.19). Among the major league leaders in ERA, Corbin allowed three hits over eight innings of one-run ball Saturday and was in line for the win before Heath Bell blew the save in a back-and-forth 4-3 walkoff victory over Cincinnati. The Diamondbacks improved to 14-1 when giving the ball to Corbin, who's gone without a decision in his last four outings.

"Honestly I don't really look at it too much," the 23-year-old left-hander said of his record. "Everybody keeps saying, 'Get the 10th win,' but I'm trying to get every win, no matter what win it is."

In his only appearance versus Washington (39-38), Corbin surrendered two runs, four hits and struck out seven in seven innings of a 7-4 victory Aug. 12.

Corbin now tries to help the slumping Diamondbacks get back on track. Arizona was limited to four hits in suffering a season-worst fifth consecutive road loss, 3-2 on Wednesday.

Zimmermann, meanwhile, threw seven strong innings for Washington, which has taken six of seven in the series.

"He made some good pitches and we weren't able to get anything going," said Diamondbacks first baseman Paul Goldschmidt, whose team has dropped seven of 11 overall while hitting .226.

Nationals rookie Anthony Rendon, who went 3 for 4 with a double and a run, has 12 hits in 26 at-bats during a six-game hitting streak. He's hit safely in all but two of 18 games since getting recalled from Triple-A Syracuse on June 4, going 29 for 74 (.392) with a homer and 10 runs.

"That's what I've been doing my whole life," he said. "I like to hit."

Washington has posted a .298 average in taking six of eight at home.