Giants look to get offense going against Nationals 

The Giants' hitting has been anemic for the most part recently. The bullpen has been inconsistent. However, the starters keep cruising along without much support.

San Francisco will send its most consistent starter this season, Madison Bumgarner, to the mound today looking to end that trend as the Giants open a three-game road series against the Washington Nationals.

Giants pitchers have made quality starts in 13 of the past 16 games, compiling a collective 2.14 ERA in that span. That hasn't translated to wins, however, as the Giants are just 6-10 in their past 16 games. Part of that can be attributed to a slumping Buster Posey, who is batting .161 (10-for-62) over his past 19 games.

"The offense is sputtering," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "What's encouraging is our starters are doing a real nice job, going out there and giving us quality starts. Overall, the 'pen's done a pretty good job. We're not doing a lot offensively. ... We've got too many guys cold with the bats right now."

Bumgarner's frustration with the offense seemed to reach a boiling point after his last start when he questioned his teammates' focus in a 6-1 loss to the Milwaukee Brewers.

The 24-year-old, who allowed four runs over seven innings against the Brewers, has pitched at least seven innings in 10 consecutive starts. Bumgarner is 2-2 with a 2.65 ERA in four career starts against the Nationals.

He'll be opposed by the Nationals' talented left-hander Gio Gonzalez. After allowing 10 runs in his previous start, Gonzalez bounced back with seven strong innings last week against the Braves.

Marco Scutaro has two hits in 17 at-bats against Gonzalez, who has allowed two earned runs or fewer in 15 of his 23 starts. The 27-year-old yielded one run over 7 ¹⁄³ innings in a 2-1 victory against the Giants on May 22.

Coming into the season, a Giants-Nationals matchup was thought to be a possible preview of the National League Championship Series. Now, it's just a meeting of two of the most disappointing teams in the majors.

The Giants enter 13 games under .500 and well out of the playoff race, while the Nationals own a 57-60 record.

— Staff, wire report

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A daily newspaper covering San Francisco, San Mateo County and serving Alameda, Marin and Santa Clara counties.
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