After failing to make up any ground with National League East-leading Atlanta thanks to a split of their four-game series with the Braves, the Washington Nationals head home to begin a 10-game homestand against the Colorado Rockies on Monday night.
Right-hander Erick Fedde (1-1, 3.50 ERA) will make his eighth start of the season for the Nationals and will be opposed by 22-year-old right-hander Peter Lambert (2-1, 6.06) in the first of a four-game series with the Rockies. Washington will also host the Los Angeles Dodgers for three games and then finish the homestand with another key three-game series with the Braves.
It will be the third career start against Colorado for Fedde, who brings in an 0-2 career mark and 12.38 ERA against the Rockies. The former first-round pick from UNLV pitched well in his last start on Wednesday at Baltimore, allowing one run on five hits and no walks in six innings of an eventual 9-2 loss to the Orioles.
Lambert will be making his first career appearance against the Nats and eighth career start for Colorado. He is winless in his last five starts but comes in off a solid performance against the San Francisco Giants on Tuesday, during which he allowed two runs on six hits and no walks in an eventual 8-4 loss.
The Nationals will enter Monday night's contest with a 1 1/2-game lead over the Milwaukee Brewers for the first wild-card spot in the National League but remain 6 1/2 games behind Atlanta in the NL East and one game ahead of third-place Philadelphia.
Washington missed a chance to cut into the Braves' lead over the weekend, dropping the finale of the four-game set, 7-1, on Sunday night.
That defeat featured the first loss by a Nats starting pitcher in 28 games as Joe Ross -- summoned from Triple-A Fresno to replace injured Austin Voth (right bicep tendinitis) -- gave up three runs in 5 1/3 innings. The 27-game streak without a loss by a starting pitcher, which began after a June 15 loss to the Diamondbacks, matched the longest in MLB history set by the 1916 New York Giants. Washington starters were 16-0 with a 2.55 ERA during that span.
The only statistic that mattered to the Nationals after Sunday night's loss, however, was the 6 1/2 games that they still trail the Braves.
"You were hoping to make up a couple of games," manager Dave Martinez told the Washington Post. "And we didn't do that."
Colorado arrives in D.C. in a tie for last place with the San Diego Padres in the NL West, 18 1/2 games behind the Dodgers.
The Rockies snapped a six-game losing streak by salvaging the final game of a three-game series with the Yankees on Sunday, 8-4. Right fielder Charlie Blackmon led off the game with his 21st home run of the season and became the first Colorado player in history to record a four-hit game at Yankee Stadium.
The Rockies also got a big game from starting pitcher German Marquez, who allowed just two runs on three hits over seven innings. Marquez had allowed a career-high 11 runs on 11 hits in 2 2/3 innings in a 19-2 loss to San Francisco in his previous start.
"We had a really good team win today, and Marquez had a great game," catcher Tony Wolters told the Denver Post. "He was in control the whole way."
--Field Level Media