It's bound to get better for the Washington Nationals when they get back home for their game Friday night
So it could be a good omen for Washington that the opponent will be Oakland, though the Athletics might be brimming with confidence and excitement after the past week
The Nationals were no-hit victims on the road when Philadelphia's Michael Lorenzen threw a gem in a 7-0 outcome Wednesday. The Nats followed that with another rough night at the plate when they lost 6-2 Thursday to the Phillies
"We got to start scoring runs," Nationals manager Dave Martinez said. "Bottom of the lineup just got to start driving in some runs for us.
The Athletics were off Thursday. Next, two last-place teams will meet in the opener of a three-game series in Washington, D.C
The Athletics were involved in a shutout Wednesday, winning 2-0 against the Texas Rangers. Oakland has three shutouts this season
But the bigger news this week might still be coming for Athletics manager Mark Kotsay, who has been adding prospects to his lineup
Reports have surfaced that Oakland is calling up outfield prospect Lawrence Butler to make his major league debut in Washington. He's 23 years old and has 15 home runs, 70 runs batted in and 21 stolen bases in 89 games (combined in Double-A and Triple-A) this year
Butler will join Zack Gelof, who has homered six times in 22 games in the major leagues, in the Athletics' lineup
"It doesn't feel easy out there, that's for sure," Gelof said. "But ultimately just trusting my preparation and just leaning on guys in the clubhouse and the coaching staff.
It will be a change of scenery for outfielder Blake Rutherford of the Nationals. He'll be in his first big-league home game when he plays in this series. Rutherford is 0-for-16 since his first call-up to the majors
Despite losing three of four games in Philadelphia, Washington is 5-3 in its last eight games
The Nationals will look to get off to a good start Friday with right-hander Joan Adon (1-0, 4.91 ERA) on the mound. It will be just his fourth big-league game of the season, though he lasted six innings for the victory while giving up three runs Saturday at Cincinnati
His second start in the majors will come vs. Oakland
"Hopefully, he pitches like he pitched the other day," Martinez said. "It was awesome.
Friday will mark the start of what will be a six-man rotation for Washington pitchers, at least in the short term
"We're trying to spread the younger guys out a little bit and give them a couple of extra days off," Martinez said
The Athletics will look to right-hander Paul Blackburn (2-2, 4.35) as he comes off his best outing of the season. He blanked San Francisco on two hits for six innings Saturday. Oakland has won in his last three starts after winning just three games in his first nine outings of the season
--Field Level Medi