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News » Nationals-Diamondbacks Preview 2009-05-09

Nationals-Diamondbacks Preview 2009-05-09

Nationals-Diamondbacks Preview 2009-05-09
The Arizona Diamondbacks might have a new manager, but it could take some time before they stop producing the same old results.

After falling short in A.J. Hinch's managerial debut, the Diamondbacks look to avoid a third straight loss Saturday night in the continuation of a three-game home series with the Washington Nationals.

Hours after Hinch was introduced as the replacement for fired manager Bob Melvin, Arizona (12-18) fell 5-4 to Washington on Friday.

One of the majors' worst offensive teams, the Diamondbacks didn't look much different under their new manager, stranding nine and going 2 for 13 with runners in scoring position.

Felipe Lopez had three hits and Justin Upton extended his career-high hitting streak to 15 games for the Diamondbacks, who have lost five of their last six contests.

While the poor start by a team made up of mostly the same players from the group that won the NL West in 2007 may have justified Melvin being fired, replacing him with someone who has no managerial experience might seem puzzling.

Hinch, a former catcher who played for four teams from 1998-2004, was in his fourth season as the Diamondbacks' director of player development and became the youngest manager in the majors since Cleveland hired Eric Wedge in 2002.

Hinch, though, has known most of the Arizona players as they worked their way through the minor league system. Team officials felt that familiarity could be an asset.

"I feel a part of each and every one of them," Hinch said. "I've been involved in different aspects throughout their career so far, and I think that's to their advantage and I think that's to my advantage."

Though players like Conor Jackson, Mark Reynolds and Eric Byrnes have struggled, Lopez, a former member of the Nationals, is batting .316 in his first season with Arizona. Upton is hitting .377 (20 for 53) with 15 RBIs during his hitting streak.

Doug Davis (2-4, 3.52 ERA) looks to bounce back from his last start when he takes the ball for Arizona. He allowed four runs and five hits while walking four in 4 1-3 innings of a 7-2 road loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers on Monday.

The left-hander is 1-4 with a 3.09 ERA in seven starts against the Nationals franchise.

Washington (9-18) counters with John Lannan (1-3, 4.59), who finally recorded his first victory of the season in his sixth start.

Lannan allowed three earned runs and nine hits without a strikeout in six innings of a 9-4 win over Houston on Monday.

"He has pitched better than that and didn't come up with anything," manager Manny Acta told the Nationals' official Web site. "He battled."

The left-hander has pitched well against the Diamondbacks, going 1-1 with an 0.69 ERA.

Jesus Flores had two hits with two RBIs, Adam Dunn homered against his former team and Ryan Zimmerman extended his hitting streak to 26 games Friday for Washington, which has won two in a row on the road for the first time this season.

"We're starting to build some confidence and playing a lot better baseball," Zimmerman said of the Nationals, who have not won three straight overall in 2009.

Flores is hitting .423 (11 for 26) during a seven-game hitting streak. Zimmerman is batting .339 this season, but is 0 for 5 lifetime against Davis.

Author:Fox Sports
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Added: May 9, 2009

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