#901 Washington Nationalsvs.#902 Cincinnati Reds
Written by David Hess
Washington Nationals (54-36 SU, 45-45 RL, 46-40-4 O/U) vs Cincinnati Reds (39-51 SU, 48-42 RL, 48-37-5 O/U)
When: 12:35 PM EDT, Monday, July 17, 2017
Where: Great American Ballpark In Cincinnati, Ohio
Lines: Washington -142/ Cincinnati +132
The National League East meets the National League Central this afternoon as the Washington Nationals grapple with the Cincinnati Reds in the final game of their four-game series from Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati, Ohio. The Nats took the first two games of this series. Pitching Probables: The Nationals will trot out Stephen Strasburg in this one and he will be opposed by Scott Feldman.
If the Washington Nationals don’t make the World Series this year then they can blame their bullpen for that. The Nats grabbed a huge 10-0 lead over the Reds on Saturday and while they won the game they did have to fend off a late charge as the Reds scored the final seven runs in the game. Washington got a great start from Max Scherzer, who allowed 0 ERs on just three hits and four walks while striking out 10 in 6.0 innings of work. He is now 11-5 on the year with a 2.01 ERA. The bullpen then came in and allowed seven total runs in the 8th and the 9th. In the last 10 games, the Nats have a 2.38 ERA in their last 10 games, but the pen has a 7.48 ERA over the same stretch. That pen is now last in the league in ERA at 5.34. It didn’t cost them in this game, but it will in the playoffs against teams far better than the Reds, so they really need to address their problems in the pen at the trade deadline. Taking the hill for the Nationals in this one will be Stephen Strasburg and he has gone 9-3 with a 3.43 ERA in 18 starts on the year, including 1-1 with a 2.65 ERA in his last three starts and 6-1 with a 2.61 ERA in eight starts on the road. Strasburg has gone 11-10 with a 3.22 ERA in 29 career starts in July and 34-19 with a 3.20 ERA in 72 career day starts, while against the Reds overall he has gone 2-1 with a 5.00 ERA in seven starts, including 1-1 with a 6.75 ERA in four starts here at Great American Ballpark.
Washington has been a very good offensive team this year so far as they come in ranked 2nd in the league in scoring, putting up 5.57 rpg, while also ranking 2nd in hitting at .277 and 9th in homers with 130. On the mound they have been decent so far this year as they come in ranked 11th in the league in ERA at 4.15, while also ranking 8th in WHIP at 1.28.
The Cincinnati Reds are not going to make a run at a playoff spot until they fix their pitching. This was not a good series for them to do so as the Nats have the 2nd best offense in the league and it has shown as they have scored 15 runs in the first two games so far. That is on the heels of allowing just 2.67 rpg over their previous six games. This is still the worst staff in the league overall, but one starter has been real consistent for them of late and that is Scott Feldman, who comes in at 7-6 with a 3.94 ERA in 18 starts on the year, including 3-2 with a 2.92 ERA over his last six starts and 4-2 with a 3.00 ERA in nine starts here at home. Feldman has gone 10-11 with a 4.54 ERA in 47 games (30 starts) in July and 25-23 with a 4.03 ERA in 98 games (55 starts) in the daytime. He has pitched well against the Nations in his career as he is 1-0 with a 2.50 ERA in three starts against them. Feldman is 4-3 with a 3.49 ERA in 10 career starts in this park. If anyone on this staff has a shot at slowing down the Nats, it is Feldman and they need a big outing from him as the Reds are 12 games under .500 for the year and 11.5 games out of first in the National League Central. If they don’t fix their pitching overall, then they will continue to reside in the basement of the division. Other than Feldman, they just don’t have anyone to step up, though. The Reds are now 23-22 here at home for the year.
Cincinnati has been a decent offensive team this year so far as they come in ranked 11th in the league in scoring, putting up 4.79 rpg, while also ranking 11th in hitting at .259 and 11th in homers with 126. On the mound they have been poor so far as they come in ranked 30th in the league in ERA at 5.11, while also ranking 26th in WHIP at 1.43.
The Cincinnati Reds will send out their best starter in this one, but I’m not sure it will be enough to slow down the Nationals, who look like they came out of the break on a mission. The Nats have scored 15 runs in the first two games of this series and while Feldman has been strong of late, I still see their hot offense putting up0 some runs on him in this one. Max Scherzer and Gio Gonzalez have been getting all the pub for the Nationals, but Stephen Strasburg is still having a solid year as he is 9-3 with a 3.43 ERA on the year, including 6-1 with a 2.61 ERA on the road. He has struggled in this park in his career, but he is really locked in right now and he has a strong offense to back him up. Take the Nats in this one.
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