Arizona was one of the most active sellers in the days leading up to Saturday's trade deadline, shipping away four players in four separate deals. The purge began before the Diamondbacks embarked on last week's six-game road trip through Philadelphia and New York, when the team dealt staff ace Dan Haren to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim for pitcher Joe Saunders and a trio of prospects.
Fellow starter Edwin Jackson was the next to go, sent to the Chicago White Sox for young righty Dan Hudson and a minor-leaguer on Friday. The club also consummated a five-player swap with Pittsburgh that netted infielder Bobby Crosby, reliever D.J. Carrasco and outfielder Ryan Church on Saturday, and traded one-time closer Chad Qualls to Tampa Bay as well.
On the field, the Diamondbacks bounced back from being swept in three games by the Phillies to begin their trek by taking two of three bouts from the Mets over the weekend. Arizona ended the New York series on a very high note, belting four home runs and pounding out 16 hits in a 14-1 waxing on Sunday.
Adam LaRoche led the onslaught with a pair of three-run homers as part of a 3- for-6 day at the plate, while Stephen Drew and John Hester also went deep for the Diamondbacks. Both Hester and Justin Upton finished with two hits and a pair of runs scored in the rout.
Upton is now riding a 17-game hit streak and is batting .391 (27-for-69) over the course of his tear.
Hudson was impressive as well, limiting the Mets to one run and a mere three hits over a career-best eight innings in his D-Backs debut. The 23-year-old struck out four with just one walk and threw 70-of-110 pitches for strikes.
"It helps when you get that many runs scored for you," Hudson said afterward. "Luckily I had decent command of some pitches today and was able to get some quick outs."
Rodrigo Lopez will try to follow up his new teammate's performance when he takes the ball for Arizona in the series opener. The veteran journeyman hasn't been pitching very well as of late, though, producing an 0-2 record with a poor 6.50 earned run average in three starts since the All-Star break.
Lopez was plagued by control issues his last time out, as he issued five walks in five innings while allowing four runs against Philadelphia on Tuesday. He left with a no-decision in an eventual 9-5 Diamondbacks' loss.
The right-hander will be making his fourth career start against Washington and is 1-2 with a 4.91 ERA lifetime against the Nationals. In 11 appearances at Chase Field this season, Lopez is 3-5 with a 4.84 ERA.
Washington begins a seven-game West Coast trip tonight that also contains a stop in Los Angeles and begins the swing off a strong homestand in which the National League East cellar-dwellers won four of six games against the division's top two clubs, Atlanta and Philadelphia. The Nationals prevailed in their first two matchups with the two-time defending NL champion Phillies but couldn't garner a sweep on Sunday, dropping a 6-4 decision in 11 innings.
The Nats held a 4-2 lead in the finale after Adam Dunn hit a two-run homer in the bottom of the sixth, but Philadelphia scored twice in the seventh to tie the contest and went ahead for good on back-to-back RBI hits from Placido Polanco and Jayson Werth in the 11th. Both came against reliever Colin Balester, who took over for new closer Drew Storen to start the frame.
Dunn, whose homer was his 25th of the season, drew heavy interest from contending deals prior to the deadline, but Washington opted to hold on to the power-hitting first baseman after failing to find a suitable offer.
Ryan Zimmerman had a pair of hits, including a two-run double, for the Nationals, while Ian Desmond finished 2-for-4 with two runs scored in the loss. John Lannan allowed two runs over the first five innings in the Washington lefty's first major league start since June 20.
Veteran Livan Hernandez draws the assignment tonight for the Nationals and will be out to improve upon his shortest outing of the season. Against Atlanta last Wednesday, the 35-year-old lasted only 4 1/3 innings and was reached for three runs on six hits in a 3-1 defeat.
Hernandez went the distance in his previous start, yielding seven hits and walking none in a 7-1 victory at Cincinnati on June 22 to notch his 49th career complete game. The native Cuban has put together a solid season for Washington, having posted a 7-7 record and a respectable 3.22 ERA in 21 games.
The right-hander, who spent part of the 2006 season and all of 2007 with the Diamondbacks, is 10-7 with a 3.74 ERA in 20 lifetime starts against his former team and owns a 15-8 career record at Chase Field.
The Diamondbacks and Nationals have yet to face one another this season. Washington won five of the six meetings between the clubs in 2009.