The teams, which meet in the second game of the three-game series Saturday night in Washington, hold two of the worst records in the major leagues
That's not preventing some emotional and rewarding times for players in both clubhouses
Washington's Jake Alu smacked his first big-league home run in Friday night's 8-2 victory
"I was able to barrel it up and finally get one out of there," Alu said. "I've been struggling a bit as of late, so maybe that will get me going.
The Nationals have won six of their last nine games
"Now we've got a little bit of a homestand here, can finally settle in and hopefully get some wins," Alu said
For Athletics outfielder Lawrence Butler, there could be more productive days ahead. He made his major-league debut Friday night, going 0-for-4 and playing right field
"I will feel way better (Saturday)," the 23-year-old Butler said. "Hopefully, we can get a win, too.
Butler, a native of Atlanta, Ga., said it was special having his family in the crowd to witness the game
"It was very emotional," he said. "My mom was so proud. That's all I could ever ask for is to make her proud, so that was cool.
Butler won't be the only relative newcomer in the lineup Saturday night. It will be a matchup of rookie pitchers
The A's will start right-hander Luis Medina (3-8, 5.47 ERA) as he goes for his first victory since July 18. He's coming off his second-shortest appearance of the season after he was pulled following 3 1/3 innings while allowing four runs, three earned, on Sunday against San Francisco. It was the third time this season he's issued five or more walks
It also marked the first time this season that the Athletics won a game when he pitched and wasn't the winning pitcher. They're 4-12 overall when he pitches
Right-hander Jake Irvin (3-5, 4.93) is scheduled to start and has gone three straight outings without a decision. The difference from Medina, though, is that Washington has won in each of Irvin's last four appearances
He also had a short outing Sunday at Cincinnati, lasting 4 1/3 innings for his second-shortest stint in two months
The Nationals will be monitoring the usage of their bullpen. They used four relievers in the series opener after starter Joan Adon left after three innings because of leg cramping
"We tried to plan it so the next couple of days these guys will be available in case something does happen," Nationals manager Davey Martinez. "I'll have to look at how this is going to map out.
He said it's possible some of the relievers could be available for duty on back-to-back days
The Athletics have lost three of their last four games. Saturday's game marks the second game of a six-game road trip
--Field Level Medi