Nationals at Angels
The red-hot Washington Nationals continue their nine-game road trip coming out of the All-Star break with a two-game series against the Los Angeles Angels beginning Tuesday and a bolstered bullpen in tow. Left-hander Sean Doolittle and righty Ryan Madson, acquired in a trade with Oakland on Sunday, will join the team in Anaheim and are expected to help shore up the weakest link in first-place Washington's arsenal as its bullpen ERA of 5.31 is last in baseball.
The Nationals (56-36) are coming off a four-game sweep in Cincinnati as the National League's most potent offense outscored the Reds 35-12 and hit 13 home runs along the way, including three by Bryce Harper. The Angels (46-49), who lost two of three to Tampa Bay over the weekend, are among the top seven teams in contention for the two wild card spots in the American League. Mike Trout went 4-for-12 with a walk against the Rays after missing the previous 39 games because of a thumb injury. Washington's Edwin Jackson makes his first major league start of the season while auditioning for the No. 5 spot in the rotation with Joe Ross lost for the season because of a torn ulnar collateral ligament and opposes Jesse Chavez, who lost his last three starts before the All-Star Game break.
TV: 10:07 p.m. ET, MASN 2 (Washington), FSN West (Los Angeles)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Nationals RH Edwin Jackson (0-0, 7.20 ERA) vs. Angels RH Jesse Chavez (5-10, 4.99)
Jackson made three relief appearances with Baltimore in June before being designated for assignment and getting picked up by Washington. The 33-year-old, who went 10-11 with a 4.03 ERA with the Nationals in 2012, prepared for his promotion by going 2-0 with an 0.44 ERA and 22 strikeouts in 20 1/3 innings over five games (four starts) with Triple-A Syracuse. Jackson, who has pitched for 12 major league teams, is 3-4 with a 4.01 ERA in 11 games (eight starts) versus Los Angeles but has yet to face Trout while keeping Albert Pujols (3-for-11, three walks) in check.
Chavez allowed three runs, seven hits and two walks while striking out six in five innings of a 5-2 loss in Texas on July 8 in his last start. The 33-year-old Californian hasn't won since June 6 and is 0-4 with a 6.00 ERA in his last six turns, allowing 33 hits (five home runs) in 30 innings during that span. Chavez has a 3.52 ERA in seven relief appearances versus the Nationals and has yet to face Harper with limited experience against Ryan Zimmerman (1-for-3) and Daniel Murphy (0-for-2).
1. Zimmerman became the franchise's all-time home run leader Monday after belting his 235th, moving him past Vladimir Guerrero (234 with the Montreal Expos from 1996-2003).
2. The Angels have not committed an error in 11 straight games. The club record is 14 set in 2005 and 2006.
3. Los Angeles and Washington meet for the first time since 2014. The Angels lead the series 10-5 and have won five of the last six meetings.