After an 11-run outburst in their series opener with the Nationals, the Cubs returned to their recent ineffectiveness on Tuesday. They scored two runs on six hits in a 4-2 loss to Washington and fell to 4-13 in their past 17 games at Wrigley Field.
"It's frustrating, to be honest with you," general manager Jed Hoyer said. "I don't know why we haven't played well here."
Perhaps Jake Arrieta will be able to buck the trend on Wednesday. Since being acquired from the Orioles in the deal that sent Scott Feldman to Baltimore, Arrieta has notched two quality starts and is holding opposing hitters to a .095 batting average. In his last outing, a 7-0 win against the Cardinals, he threw seven scoreless innings and only allowed two hits.
"For me, there's no question that this change of scenery and this trade was huge for me and my career. And not only for me, but for the Cubs as well," Arrieta said. "I couldn't be more excited to be here."
Ross Ohlendorf will be activated from the 15-day disabled list to start for the Nationals. The right-hander has been a valuable long reliever in the second half of the season, but he will now start every fifth day in place of Taylor Jordan, who was shut down after his last start as a precautionary measure following Tommy John surgery in 2011. Ian Krol was optioned to Triple-A Syracuse on Tuesday night to make room for Ohlendorf on the 25-man roster.
With a 1.85 ERA, Ohlendorf has been one of the team's most notable bright spots this season. He is 2-0 with a 2.75 ERA in six career starts against the Cubs, but he has a 5.06 ERA in three career starts at Wrigley Field.
"Just trying to do as well as I can whenever I go in," he said. "I feel good and my command has been good."
Cubs: Rizzo, Castro becoming de facto leaders
The Cubs lost another veteran on Monday when 33-year-old David DeJesus was traded to the Nationals. As Chicago has grown younger, two-time All-Star Starlin Castro, 23, and first baseman Anthony Rizzo, 24, have suddenly become two of the more established players on the team.
Rizzo, who signed a seven-year, $41 million contract in May, said that he is not worried about taking on more of a leadership role.
"You just go about your business every day. Work hard, prepare like I always do. And that gains the respect right there in itself," he said. "I'm just going to play hard and gain the respect on the field and in the clubhouse. I'm still young. So you respect your elders and what they've done in this game, and just keep playing the game hard."
Nationals: No suspensions for Strasburg, Johnson
Manager Davey Johnson and Stephen Strasburg will not be suspended after the right-hander's actions Saturday night, according to a league source.
Strasburg plunked Braves outfielder Justin Upton in the first inning and then threw two pitches behind Andrelton Simmons in the second after Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper was hit twice on Friday. However, the Commissioner's office ruled that there wasn't evidence that Strasburg intentionally threw at Simmons, according to the source.
The decision came on the same day that Major League Baseball suspended Red Sox pitcher Ryan Dempster for five games after he hit Alex Rodriguez with a pitch.
"I think that's a great decision," Johnson said. "I was happy to hear that they made a decision on Dempster, and he [hit Rodriguez] on Sunday night and [our game] happened on Saturday, so I figured we weren't probably going to get suspended, at least."
• After blasting five home runs on Monday night, the Cubs joined their opponents -- the Nationals -- as the only National League teams with a five-homer game this season.
• With Tuesday night's victory, the Nationals won their 300th game over the Cubs. In the history of the franchise, they only have more wins against the Mets (375) and Phillies (356).
Tom Schad is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.