Lopez looking to get hot at the plate

Lopez looking to get hot at the plate

SAN DIEGO -- Before Wednesday's game against the Padres, Nationals second baseman Felipe Lopez practiced his swing from both sides of the plate in the clubhouse. He had only seven hits in his last 45 at-bats, and his average had dropped from .273 to .243.

But Lopez will tell you he's not in a slump. He said he is hitting the ball hard, but it's just not dropping in for base hits.

"I don't think you are in a slump when you are hitting the ball hard," Lopez said. "It's bad luck."

Lopez had a good game against the Padres on Wednesday, going 2-for-5 with a run scored and raising his average to .247.

Lopez has been a versatile player this year. He has started 34 games at second base, two at shortstop and six in left field. Lopez started the season on the bench, but he reclaimed the second-base job in mid April when he went on a hot streak.

Pitching matchup
WAS: LHP John Lannan (4-5, 3.57 ERA)
Less than a week after pitching one of his best games of the season, Lannan had sort of a letdown last Saturday, as the Nationals were edged by the Brewers, 5-2, at home. Unlike his previous game, against the Orioles, in which he pitched 7 1/3 innings and gave up one run on four hits, Lannan was unable to establish his fastball. He gave up three runs in five innings.

SD: LHP Wilfredo Ledezma (0-2, 4.65 ERA)
Ledezma is coming off two tough starts. He lasted four innings against the Cardinals and just three against the Reds last Saturday. In the Reds game, he allowed five runs on five hits, walked two and hit a batter, with the big blow coming via a three-run homer off the bat of Joey Votto. Ledezma had trouble commanding his fastball, and he ran into trouble with pitches up in the zone. In Saturday's game, he threw 78 pitches in just three innings, including 47 for strikes. Ledezma is filling the rotation spot of injured ace Jake Peavy.

Tidbits
Nationals catcher Jesus Flores is hitting .344 with two home runs and 14 RBIs this season. ... The Washington pitching staff has a 4.42 ERA. ... Cristian Guzman leads the Nationals in hits with 69. ... Lastings Milledge is tied with Guzman for the team lead with 20 RBIs.

Tickets
 Buy tickets now to catch the game in person.

On the Internet
 MLB.TV
 Gameday Audio
•  Gameday
•  Official game notes

On television
• MASN

On radio
• WWWT 1500

Up next
• Friday: Nationals (Tim Redding, 6-3, 3.59) at Diamondbacks (Micah Owings, 6-2, 3.73), 9:40 p.m. ET
• Saturday: Nationals (Jason Bergmann, 1-1, 4.50) at Diamondbacks (Brandon Webb, 9-2, 3.01), 8:10 p.m. ET
• Sunday: Nationals (Shawn Hill, 0-1, 4.02) at Diamondbacks (Dan Haren, 5-4, 3.75), 4:10 p.m. ET

Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.