D-backs right-hander Brandon McCarthy has taken out his frustration on the Nationals before. When he faces Doug Fister on Wednesday, sporting a 5.66 ERA in eight starts so far this season, he will have a chance to do it again.
He will be especially motivated after giving up seven runs on nine hits in 3 1/3 innings against the White Sox on May 9.
"That's my plan: to just keep working, keep trying to pitch well and see where it turns," McCarthy said. "Nine hits in 10 batters, I couldn't try to do it. I don't know what kind of run of luck that is or what that is. It's not good, but I don't know what to take away from that one exactly."
Fortunately for Arizona, McCarthy does not dwell on disappointment.
"That's one of the things I do well, is move on from things quickly," McCarthy said. "This one has hung around for a little while just because it was so perplexing."
After recording a 3.29 ERA in 43 starts with the Athletics from 2011 to 2012, McCarthy's first season in Arizona had not gone well. Missing significant time while on the disabled list, McCarthy struggled to regain his previous form.
Facing Washington on Sept. 28, 2013, however, McCarthy put his troubles behind him and pitched. He took a hard-luck loss, giving up only two runs in seven frames, but despite the defeat, Arizona manager Kirk Gibson was encouraged.
"I think he's thrown the ball well since he's come off the disabled list," Gibson said that day. "Got to find a way to keep him healthy all throughout the year. He threw the ball good today. They have a very potent lineup, and he held them down."
Fister, too, could use some encouragement after a rough season debut on May 9. Facing McCarthy's former A's club, Fister felt good physically, but gave up seven runs (five earned) on nine hits in 4 1/3 innings after missing more than a month with a lat strain.
"Physically, I felt like I was in the right place today," Fister said following his most recent turn. "I felt strong, but it was a matter of a lack of execution. I was excited for tonight, no more than normal, everything felt good. I've been working on keeping pitches down in the zone, and I didn't do that tonight."
Looking to move on from his bad showing against Oakland, Fister will get a literal fresh start as he faces Arizona for the first time in his career. The five current D-backs who have faced the right-hander own a .122 (6-for-49) clip against Fister.
Nationals: Desmond off to a slow start
Shortstop Ian Desmond is off to a slow start with the bat and the glove. Entering Wednesday's action, Desmond was hitting .220 and was among the league leaders in errors with nine. History shows that Desmond bounces back from slow starts. Take 2011: During the first half, Desmond hit .223, but hit .289 after the All-Star break. But the Nationals can't wait for him to get his act together after the All-Star break. The Nationals need Desmond to get going now.
D-backs: Evans wins PCL honor
• Infielder Nick Evans was named Pacific Coast League Player of the Week for May 5-11 after hitting .483 with seven extra-base hits and a Minor League-best 15 RBIs over seven games.
During the week, Evans had three straight games of four or more RBIs and six straight multihit games.
Signed last year as a free agent, the 28-year-old Evans, born in Glendale, Ariz., is a 2004 graduate of St. Mary's High School located not far from Chase Field.
• Fister has a 2.09 career ERA in 12 games (11 starts) against National League opponents.
• McCarthy has walked two batters or fewer in 36 of his past 39 starts.
• Nationals catcher Wilson Ramos has reached base safely in each of his five games since returning from the disabled list on May 7. He has recorded hits in three of those games, including Tuesday night against the D-backs.
Joe Morgan is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.