Familiar foes face off as Nationals aim to stop slide vs. Giants

Former teammates will go head-to-head for the second time in a week when Aaron Sanchez and the Washington Nationals open a three-game series against Alex Wood and the host San Francisco Giants on Friday night.

The clubs met last weekend in the nation’s capital, with the Giants recording a three-game sweep.

Sanchez and Wood dueled in the middle game on Saturday, with Wood (2-0, 2.51 ERA) getting the win and Sanchez (0-1, 8.31) the loss in his season debut.

The veteran pitchers were signed as free agents by the Giants last spring, and both contributed to San Francisco’s 107-win season.

Sanchez, a right-hander, went 1-1 with a 3.06 ERA in nine games (seven starts) before being designated for assignment in August. Wood, a lefty, was the club’s fourth-leading winner with a 10-4 record and 3.83 ERA in 26 starts.

The 29-year-old Sanchez hooked on with the Nationals this season. He made three minor-league starts before taking a shot at the Giants last Saturday, allowing four runs and six hits in 4 1/3 innings. That dropped his career record against San Francisco to 1-1 with a 3.97 ERA in two starts, the other having come in 2016.

Curt Casali contributed an RBI single to a four-run fifth inning last Saturday that extended a one-run lead to 5-0.

Casali also caught a Wood win for the second time this season. The two have worked well together.

Wood, a 31-year-old left-hander, limited the Nationals to two runs and four hits in five innings in last Saturday’s win. He served up a home run to Riley Adams in the fifth inning.

Wood has started 14 times in his career against the Nationals, going 6-4 with a 2.82 ERA.

The Nationals suffered their eighth straight defeat with a 3-2 loss to the Miami Marlins on Thursday.

Washington manager Dave Martinez thinks he has a solution to his club’s recent offensive slump.

“I still believe we’re taking too many fastballs,” Martinez said. “We just got to be more aggressive in the strike zone and be ready to hit early. That’s the only way we’re going to get out of it.”

The Giants, meanwhile, have won two of three since leaving Washington. They had a five-game winning streak end Wednesday night, however, in a 1-0 home loss to the Oakland Athletics.

San Francisco suffered more than just a loss in the standings when one of its hottest hitters, Joc Pederson, suffered a groin injury and had to be removed from the game. He could be headed to the injured list.

“I don’t really want to miss any games, but I’ve got to look at the bigger picture,” Pederson said. “You see our team and it’s a playoff-caliber, World Series-caliber team, and the future (goal) is to be ready in the playoffs. So I’ll just be cautious.”

–Field Level Media

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