Nationals starter Stephen Strasburg will take the mound on Sunday looking to complete a three-game sweep of the Padres, his hometown team.
Strasburg, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2009 First-Year Player Draft out of San Diego State University, will face the Padres for the second time this year. He beat them on May 16 in San Diego, when he was charged with two runs on three hits in eight innings. The right-hander will try to win his third straight decision at Nationals Park, where he owns a 1.56 ERA over his past 12 starts.
San Diego manager Bud Black saw Strasburg, an All-Star in 2012, pitch several times in college, including once at Petco Park before a Padres home game.
"You could tell this guy was real," Black said. "I mean, he was a real, real prospect. Then I've been tracking him as I do, just watching the game, watching the league. He definitely has a tremendous idea of what he needs to do for his outs, very competitive. I see that, a very competitive guy and outstanding stuff, velocity with a good breaking ball, good change. He pitches, doesn't just rely on his velocity, throws offspeed when he's behind in the count, does a lot of great things."
The Nationals have won three straight games and have scored 45 runs over their past seven, including four with at least eight runs.
"I like the way the lineup is swinging the bat, really," said Nationals manager Davey Johnson. "They're good at-bats, quality at-bats. That's what I've been looking for. That takes pressure off everybody in the lineup. They feel like they can stay within themselves and not try to do too much."
The Padres, meanwhile, have dropped eight straight games and 10 of their past 11.
Robbie Erlin will look to stop the skid in his fourth career start. He's 1-1 with a 4.34 ERA and took the loss in his last outing, when he was charged with three runs on five hits in 3 2/3 innings against the Red Sox. The rookie left-hander is in his third stint with San Diego and will make his third straight start.
Padres: Cabrera earns All-Star nod
Padres shortstop Everth Cabrera earned his first career All-Star selection on Saturday. He will be the lone Padres representative in the 2013 All-Star game at Citi Field in New York.
Cabrera is hitting .295 with 11 doubles, four triples, four home runs, 24 RBIs and 37 runs scored through 71 games. The shortstop leads the National League with 31 stolen bases.
Cabrera, 26, is the first Padres shortstop selected to play in the All-Star Game since Tony Fernandez in 1992.
• San Diego catcher Yasmani Grandal exited Saturday's game in the third inning when he injured his right knee on a play at the plate. The Padres are going to place him on the 15-day disabled list on Sunday. The team will add catcher Rene Rivera, who was playing at Triple-A Tucson, in time for Sunday's game.
Nationals: Harper named an All-Star starter
Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper was named an All-Star starter on Saturday, and will become the youngest NL All-Star starter in history.
Harper, 20, went 1-for-2 on Saturday with three RBIs to bring his average to .263. Through 50 games, Harper has seven doubles, one triple, 13 home runs, 28 RBIs and 31 runs scored.
Harper was an All-Star reserve last season, when he won the NL Rookie of the Year Award.
• Nationals starter Jordan Zimmermann was also named to the All-Star team.
Zimmermann is 12-3 with a 2.57 ERA in 18 starts this year. He took a no-decision on Saturday, allowing three runs on five hits in 5 1/3 innings, with four strikeouts. This is the first All-Star selection for the right-hander.
• Padres third baseman Chase Headley is hitting .369 (24-for-65) with seven doubles, one triple, two home runs and eight runs scored in 16 games at Nationals Park.
Austin Laymance is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.