Since opening the season with a solid home outing, the Padres' Clayton Richard has been smacked around in two starts on the road.
Richard hopes to rebound tonight in San Diego against the Washington Nationals' Gio Gonzalez, who tries to carry over his outstanding run at home in the opener of a three-game series.
The left-handed Richard made his season debut on April 8 at home against the Dodgers and won an 8-4 decision, allowing only two unearned runs on two hits over seven frames without a walk.
Richard, though, has been battered for 16 runs (12 earned) and 16 hits during consecutive road starts, getting a no-decision in Los Angeles on April 13 and then suffering a loss in Colorado on Wednesday. The 27-year-old was touched for eight runs on 10 hits and two walks over 5 1/3 frames, lifting his season earned run average to 5.89.
Richard will face the Nationals for the sixth time in his career and is 1-2 against them with a 3.48 ERA.
Gio Gonzalez gets the start for Washington in his first road assignment since April 7, a no-decision in which he allowed four runs on seven hits and three walks in 3 2/3 innings versus the Cubs.
The left-hander was outstanding over two home starts however. Gonzalez tossed seven frames of two-hit ball on April 12 against the Reds, striking out seven without a walk but getting a no-decision. He was just as good five days later, beating Houston after giving up two hits and a pair of walks in seven innings with eight strikeouts.
"I was just going with (Nationals catcher Jesus) Flores," Gonzalez said. "Every pitch he put down, I was trying to attack with that."
The 26-year-old, who faces the Padres for the first time, was scheduled to pitch Sunday's finale with the Miami Marlins, but that outing was postponed due to inclement weather. Washington won the first two games of the series and went 8-2 on its homestand.
The Nats now head out west for six games and the extra day off could get third baseman Ryan Zimmerman back into the lineup. He sat out Saturday's win due to mild right shoulder inflammation and is hitting just .224 with a homer and seven RBI in 15 games. He was held to only 101 contests last season due to injury.
The Padres were in action on Sunday and they won their second straight game for the first time this season by besting the Phillies 6-1. Nick Hundley hit a two-run homer and drove in four runs to help the Padres earn a split of the four-game series. They snapped a 13-game home losing streak to Philadelphia with Saturday's win.
Anthony Bass fanned seven and allowed one unearned run on three hits and five walks in six innings for the Padres.
"To win the past couple games yesterday and today is big, we kind of have the momentum back on our side," Bass said following Sunday's win.
The Nationals won three of four in San Diego last season.