Surging Nats draw nemesis Greinke in homestand opener

7:05 p.m. ET; MASN2, FS-A, MLB.TV

Zack Greinke is probably the last pitcher the Washington Nationals want to see as they open a long homestand Thursday, trying to get back into the National League East race.

After all, Arizona’s veteran right-hander of is 7-2 with 2.87 ERA this season — and 5-1 with a 1.46 ERA in eight career starts against Washington. He has not lost to the Nationals since 2014.

But Greinke, who allowed no runs on four hits in six innings to get the win at Toronto in his last start on Saturday, is exactly the man the Nationals will face on Thursday.

“Today I felt like I did good with mixing speeds,” Greinke told reporters after the win against the Blue Jays. “I tried to get them out in front of the off-speed and thinking off-speed, then the fastball became better. The fastball command wasn’t amazing, but the off-speed was good to keep them off balance.”

As for Greinke’s next opponent, current Washington hitters are 39-for-155 (.252) against him with three home runs. Gerardo Parra has faced him 50 times, with 15 hits but no homers. Catcher Kurt Suzuki, however, is 7-for-21 (.333) with one homer against the Arizona hurler.

Washington will start right-hander Erick Fedde (1-0, 2.93 ERA) as the 2014 first-round pick tries to continue a career upswing.

Fedde will make his fifth start of the season, but his first against Arizona (whom he has never faced). He has also pitched in five games out of the bullpen this season. The Las Vegas native has made 18 starts in his three-year major league career.

The only current Arizona hitter to face Fedde is Wilmer Flores, who is 1-for-3 against him.

Washington, coming an off day Wednesday, has won 12 of its past 17 games. The Nationals just finished a two-city road trip to San Diego and Chicago, dropping the first two to the Padres before winning three of four against San Diego and the White Sox.

It will be the first homestand spanning three opponents this year for Washington. The Nationals also have a homestand with three different foes from July 22-31 vs. Colorado, the Los Angeles Dodgers and Braves.

The Diamondbacks won 2-0 on Wednesday night at Philadelphia as Greg Holland, who pitched for Washington last season, got his 10th save of the year for Arizona.

The Nationals lost 7-5 against the White Sox on Tuesday despite two homers from third baseman Anthony Rendon.

“We still hit the ball hard,” manager Dave Martinez told reporters. “Couple line-drive outs. And then all of sudden we started coming back to score some (runs). We just couldn’t finish it today.”

Rendon ranks just fifth in voting among National League third baseman for the All-Star Game. He had about 23 percent of the total of leader Nolan Arenado of the Colorado Rockies in numbers released Tuesday.

The Houston native goes out of his way not to promote himself.

“Love to be an All-Star, but without going, if that’s possible,” Rendon told reporters in May.

The All-Star Game is July 9 in Cleveland.

–Field Level Media

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