A pair of struggling pitchers will try to turn things around when the Chicago Cubs and Washington Nationals meet in the finale of their three-game series on Sunday.
Chicago right-hander Adbert Alzolay (4-11, 4.73) is set to oppose right-hander Erick Fedde (4-7, 5.05) in Sunday's rubber game.
Alzolay is 0-7 with a 6.28 ERA in his past eight starts. Last time out, he allowed four runs on seven hits in five innings in a 7-4 loss to the Cincinnati Reds on Monday.
His problems come primarily against left-handers, who are hitting .342 with a .677 slugging percentage against him.
"I think it's continuing to have command of the pitches he's throwing," manager David Ross said after the Reds game. "I think what stood out to me (was) some of the flatness and being able to command down and away to lefties. Looked like the cutter and slider, everything's coming into those guys' (barrels)."
One of Alzolay's wins this season came on May 17 against Washington, when he gave up three runs in five innings in the 7-3 victory.
Washington's Fedde, who will be making his 17th start of the season on Sunday, is 0-3 with a 6.68 ERA in his past seven outings. In his most recent start on Tusday, he allowed four runs on eight hits in 4 2/3 innings of a no-decision versus the Phillies.
"I think most of it is falling behind, throwing a lot of pitches, using a lot of pitches to get a hitter out," Nationals manager Dave Martinez recently said of Fedde's struggles.
Over his past seven starts, Fedde has 17 walks and 25 strikeouts.
He allowed four earned runs in 5 1/3 innings and got a no-decision in his only previous start against the Cubs.
Kyle Hendricks pitched seven strong innings and earned his major league-leading 13th win as the Cubs evened the series with a 6-3 win Saturday night, snapping Chicago's four-game skid.
Rafael Ortega homered for the Cubs and Andrew Romine, in his Cubs debut, had two hits. Kyle Ryan pitched the ninth for his first save of the season following the departure of Craig Kimbrel.
Hendricks continued his hot stretch despite the departure of longtime teammates Anthony Rizzo, Javier Baez and Kris Bryant.
"It's going to take a while to process. It's just very different around here without those guys," Hendricks said. "Nothing you can do but move forward. ... Our jobs are to go out, take the field and just play as good of baseball as we can with who we got, like you saw today, (and) still win baseball games."
Juan Soto doubled, walked and scored twice for Washington, which trailed 6-1 before getting two in the eighth but could have gotten more after loading the bases with no outs.
The Nationals, who recently endured a five-game losing streak, finished the month of July 8-18.
"August is going to bring some good baseball," Martinez said after the game. "We ended the month tough. We've just got to stick together, play together and just have some fun."
One of the 12 prospects Washington acquired at the trade deadline joined the team. Reliever Mason Thompson, picked up from the Padres for reliever Daniel Hudson, was placed on the roster. He made four appearances for the Padres in late June to early July.
--Field Level Media