Cincinnati will be looking to break out of its slump when it hosts Washington on Friday night. The Nationals have now won four of their last five games after taking Thursday’s series-opener. Cincinnati’s playoff hopes are dwindling following their poor stretch of play.
Espino continues to string together nice outingsWashington is now on a three-game winning streak and has won four of its last five games. The Nationals took the final two games of their series at Miami earlier this week and then they opened their series at Cincinnati with a 3-2 win on Thursday. They took a 3-0 lead in the seventh inning before allowing two runs in the bottom of the ninth. Washington was able to keep the runner on third from scoring the tying run. The Nationals are at the bottom of the National League East and have the third-worst record in the NL. Their offense ranks fourth in the MLB with a team batting average of .259.
Left fielder Juan Soto leads the way with 151 hits, including 27 home runs. First baseman Josh Bell has 118 hits and is tied for the team-lead in homers with 27. They will be facing a Cincinnati pitching staff that is No. 19 with a team ERA of 4.35. Right-handed pitcher Paolo Espino will start for Washington on Friday night. He threw 5.2 shutout innings against Colorado in his last outing, allowing three hits and three walks while striking out seven. Espino has now given up three runs or fewer on five of his last six appearances. He has been a solid starting arm this year, posting a 3.94 ERA across 102.2 innings.
Castellanos leads Cincinnati offenseCincinnati was in the playoff picture earlier this month, but it has been a rough month of September for them. The Reds have only won consecutive games once this month. They have lost eight of their last 11 games, which has knocked them out of the playoff conversation. St. Louis is five games up on Philadelphia in the NL Wild Card standings, while Cincinnati is 5.5 games back. The Cardinals have won their last 11 games. Cincinnati’s offense ranks eighth in the MLB with a team batting average of .248. Right fielder Nick Castellanos leads the way with 155 hits, including 29 home runs.
Third baseman Jonathan India has 133 hits during what has been an excellent rookie season. Right fielder Jesse Winker has added 129 base knocks. They will be facing a Washington pitching staff that is No. 22 with a team ERA of 4.72. Right-handed pitcher Sonny Gray is going to be on the mound for Cincinnati in this game. He allowed four runs across six innings against the Dodgers in his last start. Gray had tallied a 1.80 ERA in his previous five starts, so that game against Los Angeles was a blip on the radar. He did not allow anything through his first four innings against Los Angeles before allowing three runs in the fifth.
N/A Trends found on Covers.com
- 4-9 in its last 13 vs. a team with a winning record
- 3-8 in its last 11 games overall
- 2-5 in its last seven games as a favorite
Best Bets for this Game
Full-Game Side Bet
Everything is coming crashing down for a Cincinnati team that was in the playoff picture two weeks ago. The Reds have gone on a skid and St. Louis has been red-hot, which has led to a large gap between the two teams. Washington has a nothing-to-lose mentality. The Nationals have won four of their last five games and have some momentum after hanging on to win Thursday’s game. Espino has been a solid starting pitcher for Washington this season and he will be looking for a strong finish to the year.
Full-Game Total Pick
This is a matchup between two pitchers who are in good form. Gray had posted a 1.80 ERA in five starts prior to his outing against the Dodgers last week. This Washington lineup is down to Soto and Bell, so I expect Gray to have a strong game. He has gone under in five of his last six starts on grass and he has also gone under in six of his last seven starts during the second game of a series. Espino has allowed three or fewer runs in five of his last six starts and is facing a cold Cincinnati lineup.