Lefty Ross Detwiler can make it five straight wins for the Washington Nationals - while ending a personal slide - when they host the Chicago Cubs on Friday night in the opener of a three-game set at Nationals Park.
A 10-game winner for the Nationals in 2012, Detwiler opened this season with a win and two no-decisions in his initial three starts but has since dropped three in a row.
He allowed two runs in six innings of a 2-0 loss to St. Louis on April 23, then was subsequently beaten by Cincinnati and Pittsburgh while allowing seven runs on 17 hits in 10 innings.
In 36 innings across six starts, he's given up 42 hits and 12 runs, allowing a .296 batting average.
Detwiler is 2-1 in three career starts against the Cubs.
Chicago goes with righty Jeff Samardzija, who's made six starts since his last victory.
The former Notre Dame football player defeated Pittsburgh, 3-1 in his initial outing of 2013 on April 1, but dropped four straight games to Atlanta, San Francisco, Milwaukee and Cincinnati through April 24.
Two subsequent starts have yielded two no-decisions, in which he's allowed five runs on eight hits in 11 innings.
Samardzija is 1-1 in nine career meetings with Washington.
On Thursday in Washington, Adam LaRoche and Ryan Zimmerman each recorded multiple hits and drove in a run as the Nationals completed a two-game interleague sweep with a 5-4 victory over Detroit.
Bryce Harper and Ian Desmond also supplied an RBI apiece for the Nationals, who have won six of seven. Starter Dan Haren (4-3) allowed four runs on nine hits and struck out three over six innings.
"We've come a long way in a week," Haren said, "and we're still not at full strength."
On Wednesday in Chicago, Jon Jay's tie-breaking RBI single in the eighth inning proved to be the difference in the St. Louis Cardinals' 5-4 victory over the Cubs in the finale of a two-game series at Wrigley Field.
Nate Schierholtz plated two runs for the Cubs, while James Russell blew the lead in the seventh after allowing Carlos Beltran to tie the game at 4-4 with an RBI single. Michael Bowden (1-2) gave up a run on two hits, including Jay's eventual game-winner, to absorb the loss.
"We can't seem to shut anybody down in the sixth, seventh inning," Cubs manager Dale Sveum said. "We can't make a pitch when we have to."
Chicago's Carlos Villanueva, who was looking to avoid losing three straight starts for the first time in his eight-year career, earned a no-decision after yielding three runs and three walks over 6 2/3 innings.
The Nationals won six of seven games with the Cubs in 2012 and four of seven in 2011. Chicago last won the series, 4-2, in 2010.