The Washington Nationals aren't familiar with this territory
They'll be going for a series sweep of the visiting San Francisco Giants when they meet Sunday afternoon following 5-3 and 10-1 wins on Friday and Saturday, respectively
"I like the trend," Nationals manager Dave Martinez said. "It's been a good weekend so far.
Washington is going for just its fourth three-game winning streak of the season. The Nationals have yet to sweep a three-game series
The Nationals have benefited from solid hitting and pitching in the first two games of the series with San Francisco
They've scored 15 runs on 21 hits, including three home runs. And from a pitching perspective, the bullpen has gotten some rest, with Washington's starters pitching into at least the seventh inning in back-to-back games.
"These guys are learning," Martinez said of his pitching staff. "They're learning how to get ahead of hitters, stay ahead of hitters."
The Giants are in far from an encouraged mood. They've lost four games in a row, producing seven runs in those games
Giants manager Gabe Kapler said it's important for his team not to dwell on the loss
"Especially with the day game (Sunday), it's important that we turn the page quickly," Kapler said.
"It's all about working good at-bats," Martinez said. "One guy works a good at-bat, the next guy does it."
San Francisco's losing streak has been defined by minimal production. The Giants have 18 hits during the past four games, though in prior losing streaks, they at leas
had some quality at-bats to lean on.
"The last couple of days haven't been as good," Kapler said. "There's no quick fix here. It's a back-to-work mentality. ... We haven't been a very explosive, powerful for some time. But as I look at the names on that page, I know we are that explosive, powerful offense."
Scott Alexander (6-0, 3.04 ERA) is expected to start for the Giants on Sunday, with right-hander Anthony DeSclafani (4-8, 4.72) pegged to chew up as many innings as possible
Alexander started one game this season, pitching a hitless inning on May 25 in Milwaukee.
As for DeSclafani, he hasn't won a game since late May, with two of his roughest outings coming in his two appearances this month.
Across five total innings in July, he has surrendered seven total runs. He hasn't walked a batter in those two games, but he has surrendered five homers, matching his total of long balls allowed from May and June in a combined 11 starts.
In a May 8 home game vs. Washington, DeSclafani gave up a season-high 10 hits across seven innings in the 5-1 win for the Nationals. All-time when going against Washington, he's 4-2 with a 2.95 ERA in 11 games (eight starts)
Left-hander MacKenzie Gore (5-7, 4.59) will be called upon to start for the Nationals. He won his most recent start on Monday despite giving up five runs in 6 1/3 innings to the host Chicago Cubs
Churning out consecutive victories would be unusual for Gore. He hasn't won in back-to-back decisions since starting the season 2-0. Those early April games also are the only time the Nationals have won at least two straight with Gore on the mound
Gore is 1-1 against the Giants, but he has given up nine runs in 9 1/3 innings in two starts for an 8.68 ERA
Rookie catcher Patrick Bailey is expected to be back in the San Francisco lineup Sunday after having Saturday off. He's 0-for-12 in his past four games combined.
--Field Level Media