Even before they packed their bags and headed out on the first road trip of the season -- a 10-game journey to Washington, Cleveland and Toronto -- the White Sox understood the degree of difficulty.
"I don't look at any road trip where you think it's easy," manager Robin Ventura said. "We're going to be playing tough teams all the time, and Washington is a tough team. We haven't seen them at all, really. You know they're a good team; they made the playoffs last year. We're going to have to clean some things up to be able to stay in those games."
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Unless they pull it together in Thursday's series final, it's going to be a clean three-game sweep for the Nationals.
On Tuesday, starting pitcher Jake Peavy was off his game in an 8-7 loss to Washington, allowing 6 runs on 9 hits (3 home runs) in 51⁄3 innings.
Gavin Floyd wasn't much better in Wednesday night's 5-2 loss at Nationals Park.
After the game got going following a 16-minute delay caused by the umpiring crew being stuck in traffic, Adam Dunn put the Sox in front with an RBI groundout in the first inning. Dunn started the game in left field.
Floyd was fine through the first three innings, but the right-hander didn't fare nearly as well the second and third times through the Nats' powerful lineup.
In the fourth, young Washington star Bryce Harper jumped on Floyd's first pitch and changed the game's momentum with a mammoth home run to right field that landed in the second deck.
"Early on, (Harper's) hacking," Floyd told reporters. "I think he's one of the highest-percentage hitters early on, so you kind of know that and you're making pitches. My cutter didn't cut like I wanted it to."
Danny Espinosa's RBI single later in the fourth inning put the Nationals in front for good.
Floyd lost for the second time in as many starts while allowing 5 runs on 9 hits and 3 walks (all to No. 8 Kurt Suzuki) in 51⁄3 innings.
"It's a tough lineup," Ventura said. "And when you get to that fifth or sixth inning, it's hard to get through it again."
As for the Sox' offense, Alex Rios stayed hot with 2 hits and an RBI groundout in the sixth inning to cut the Nats' lead to 3-2, but that was as close as it would get.
"We threw a lot of fastballs inside and got a lot of broken bats," Washington starter Jordan Zimmermann (2-0) said after giving up 2 runs on 7 hits in 7 innings.
Second baseman Gordon Beckham sat out with nerve irritation in his left wrist.
Beckham suffered the injury in Tuesday's opener and there is a possibility he could land on the disabled list. Jeff Keppinger moved from third base to second Wednesday and Conor Gillaspie (2-for-4) took Keppinger's regular spot.
"I think (Thursday) will be the big test," Beckham told reporters. "If I wake up and it feels better, I think it will be fine. If not, we'll probably have to do an MRI or something."