Luke Weaver, Diamondbacks try to get upper hand vs. Nationals

MLB

Arizona Diamondbacks right-hander Luke Weaver looks to follow up on his stellar last start when he faces the host Washington Nationals on Saturday.

Weaver (1-0, 2.13 ERA) took a no-hitter into the seventh against Cincinnati before settling for seven shutout innings on one hit, one walk and one hit batter. He struck out eight.

“I think the control with the fastball is ultimately what I’ve been telling (pitching coach Matt) Herges,” said Weaver, who threw 94 pitches — mostly fastballs — against the Reds. “If I can hone that in and really locate to both sides, then all the other stuff comes together. It all starts with that.”

Weaver has already equaled his win total from 2020 when he was 1-9 with a 6.58 ERA in 12 games. He’s 0-1 versus Washington in his career, allowing two earned runs in 3 2/3 innings.

While the Nationals wait for Jon Lester to rejoin the rotation after a stint on the COVID-19-related injury list, right-hander Erick Fedde (0-1, 8.53) makes his third start of the season.

On Monday, Fedde limited the St. Louis Cardinals to one run over 4 2/3 innings of a no-decision in a Washington win. Fedde held Paul Goldschmidt, Nolan Arenado, Yadier Molina, Dylan Carlson and Paul DeJong, the Cardinals’ 2-6 batters, to two hits in 20 at-bats. It was a strong rebound from his first start, when he allowed six runs in 1 2/3 innings to Atlanta.

“I didn’t want to over-panic, or immediately say one bad outing was going to be something that was going to make me change everything and hit the panic button,” Fedde said. “If anything, it was just: ‘Stay calm and remember where I was at, and try to get back to that point.’ … Nobody wants to start the year off the way I did. You just can’t let it snowball.”

Fedde lost his only previous start against Arizona, giving up five runs in six innings.

Lester, meanwhile, threw a three-inning simulated game on Thursday, and manager Dave Martinez said Lester felt good on Friday. He will likely make at least one more rehab start.

“The biggest thing with him right now is just health, and making sure we get him back and he’s completely healthy,” Martinez said. “I’m assuming that he’s going to go out there and try to get to five innings his next outing. But like I told him today: Just focus on getting through each pitch, and we’ll see how far you can get.”

The Nationals evened the four-game series 1-1 on Friday when Kyle Schwarber homered in the bottom of the ninth inning off reliever Alex Young for a 1-0 Washington victory.

“We just made a mistake on that last batter,” Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo said. “That’s what happens. You make a one- or two-inch mistake and it could cost you.”

One night after the Diamondbacks clubbed four home runs, Max Scherzer shut them out for seven innings. He allowed two singles while striking out 10 and walking two.

Josh Harrison had two hits for Washington, recording his fourth consecutive multi-hit game. Harrison is 10-for-18 (.556) with a double, homer, five RBIs, two walks and two runs scored in four games played.

Arizona’s Tim Locastro singled in the top of the sixth inning, extending his hitting streak to a career-high eight games. He is hitting .306 (11-for-36) during the streak.

–Field Level Media

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