WHITE SOX (29-30) AT NATIONALS (26-33)
7:05 p.m. ET; MASN, WGN, MLB.TV
The improving Washington Nationals return from a successful road swing for two home games against the Chicago White Sox beginning Tuesday night.
The Nationals are 7-2 in their past nine games and have won three series in a row for the first time this season after taking two of three from the Cincinnati Reds.
“I think what I’m seeing now is the way we are winning games by doing all the little things we talk about,” manager Dave Martinez told reporters. “Staying up the middle of the field, two-strike hitting, all those things. Driving in runs from third base less than two outs. If we keep doing that we are going to win a lot of games.
“Our starting pitching is good. Our defense has been playing better. We just got to keep it going right now.”
The offense continues to be led by Anthony Rendon, who went 3-for-4 on Sunday, including an RBI single. He also walked and scored a run. Rendon is hitting .331 with 10 homers, 35 RBIs and 43 runs scored in 45 games.
“I have said this before: He’s the guy that makes the lineup really go,” Martinez told MASN.com. “Everybody else is starting to swing the bats, but he’s that constant guy that is going to get on base and drive in runs, works good at-bats every day.”
Nationals right-hander Stephen Strasburg (5-3, 3.19 ERA) opposes Reynaldo Lopez (3-5, 6.20) in the opener.
The White Sox are coming off a 6-1 homestand.
Strasburg has won his last two decisions and allowed two earned runs or less in seven of his past eight starts. Last time out he allowed two runs on five hits over seven innings of a 5-4 win at Atlanta. He struck out 11 batters for the third time this season.
Strasburg’s only appearance against the White Sox came in 2010, when he struck out 10 without a walk in seven innings of 2-1 loss.
Lopez is looking to bounce back from a pair of bad outings in which he has allowed 13 earned runs in 9 1/3 innings. In his last start he gave up five runs on 12 hits over 5 2/3 innings of a no-decision to the Royals after being staked to an early 7-1 lead.
The right-hander was 5-3 with a 4.91 ERA for the Nationals in 2016. On December 7 of that year he was traded with pitchers Lucas Giolito and Dane Dunning to the White Sox in exchange for outfielder Adam Eaton.
Lopez told the Chicago Sun-Times that his first start against his former team will be emotional because the Nationals were “the team that signed me and gave me the chance to play at this level.”
Giolito allowed five hits and struck out nine in 7 1/3 scoreless innings in the Chicago’s 2-0 victory against the Cleveland Indians on Sunday, his seventh straight win.
Shortstop Tim Anderson gave Chicago the lead with his ninth homer of the season, and Alex Colome picked up his 12th save. The White Sox are within one game of .500 as they open a five-game road trip.
“Everybody’s been hoping to see the talent these guys have come to fruition,” White Sox manager Rick Renteria said in the Sun-Times. “They’re starting to scratch the surface. They should be excited. These are the real guys right now.”
–Field Level Media