A week ago, Washington Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo was listening to various offers for Juan Soto and Josh Bell and sifting through proposals deemed acceptable.

Eventually Soto and Bell were traded to San Diego and while the Nationals won their first game following the deal, Washington has continued to struggle.

Washington attempts to halt a five-game losing streak Monday when it visits the Chicago Cubs for the opener of a three-game series.

Washington officially dealt Soto hours before Tuesday’s deadline and then earned a 5-1 win over the New York Mets. Since Tuesday, the Nationals have been outscored 45-17 during their five-game skid, their fifth losing streak of at least five games.

After losing two close games to start their latest skid, the Nationals were blown out in the final three games in Philadelphia.

On Friday, the Nationals did not get a baserunner until the seventh in a 7-2 loss and on Saturday, they faced a nine-run deficit through two innings in an 11-5 loss. On Sunday, starter Cory Abbott allowed seven runs in 3 2/3 innings and Washington allowed a pair of five-run innings.

“We got to pitch better. We got to get some better starting pitching,” Washington manager Dave Martinez said. “We’re always behind. It’s tough for morale.”

Anibal Sanchez (0-4, 7.65 ERA) will look to give the Nationals a strong outing on Monday. Sanchez has allowed at least four runs in three of his four outings this season, including Wednesday against the Mets when he allowed five runs (four earned) and five hits in 4 1/3 innings.

Sanchez is 5-2 with a 2.94 ERA in nine career regular-season starts against the Cubs. He last faced the Cubs Aug. 23, 2019, in Chicago, when he allowed two runs (one earned) and one hit in 8 1/3 innings to earn the win.

Keegan Thompson (8-5, 3.48), who is experiencing mixed results of late, goes for the Cubs. Thompson allowed two unearned runs in seven innings July 26 against the visiting Pittsburgh Pirates and followed it up by getting tagged for five runs and a season-high 10 hits in 4 2/3 innings in a 6-0 loss at St. Louis.

Thompson earned the win in relief during his only previous appearance against Washington on May 18, 2021.

While the Cubs own one of the worst records in the National League, they are 5-1 in their past six home games and 8-7 since the All-Star break.

Chicago played a trio of low-scoring games against the visiting Miami Marlins. After Willson Contreras hit a two-run homer and an RBI single in Chicago’s first two wins, the offense was held to two hits in a 3-0 loss Sunday.

Yan Gomes and Nick Madrigal had the hits for the Cubs, who had four baserunners Sunday. Chicago also played without rookie Christopher Morel, who is day-to-day with right hamstring tightness.

Morel is mired in a 1-for-26 skid that has seen his average plummet to .259 and is batting .216 since the All-Star break.

“We were able to take two out of three but (Sunday) we just weren’t able to capitalize (with) too many runs,” Chicago manager David Ross said.

–Field Level Media