The Washington Nationals and Cincinnati Reds both had the day off yesterday, but will be back out on the diamond Friday. The Nationals are feeling good with wins in five of their last six games, including two in a row against the Braves. They’re not going to reel in the Phillies in the NL East, but it’s at least something to feel good about after a rather slow start for them.
This is the first season that they’ve been without Bryce Harper since 2011. They’re finding out that the absence of Harper leaves a sizable void in their lineup. It’s not like he was blazing out early in they year last season, but pitchers still had to be careful around him and had to approach their lineup differently. Harper heated up in the second-half to put up some impressive numbers. We should expect the same in Philadelphia as well.
The Reds made waves with the acquisition of Yasiel Puig in the offseason, but it has yet to make a difference in the win column. On paper they most certainly look like a better team. However, we’re still waiting for the results to follow. The future of Puig in Cincinnati is likely going to hinge on where the Reds are around the deadline. If the postseason looks good, he’s not going anywhere. But they might try and shop him around if October baseball isn’t looking good.
They’re going to have to play better in the summer than they did in the spring. The Reds head into the weekend with a record of 26-30 in the NL Central. That puts them in last behind the Pirates. At 6 games back of 1st, they’re still within striking distance, though. They just need to get a good run going. Tyler Mahle will get the start for the Reds, while former Diamondback, Patrick Corbin, will get the call for the Nationals. Head below for our free Nationals vs. Reds pick.
Washington Nationals vs. Cincinnati Reds Pick:
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Patrick Corbin has reignited his career in Washington with the Nationals. I am sure there a lot of competitive teams out there wondering how they ignored Corbin when they had the opportunity to sign him. The National signed him to a pretty expensive deal in the offseason and they have to be happy about it now.
At 29 years old he is still relatively young for a pitcher. Corbin goes into Cincinnati with an ERA of 2.85 and 1.03 WHIP. He’s had an outstanding campaign in his first season with the Nats. It has been a season for him to prove that he is over his injury from 2015. He regressed after that, but got back into a groove last season.
Failure to improve their bullpen isn’t going to help Corbin out any. The Nationals can acquire a couple more high quality pitchers and they’re still not going to be going to the postseason with this outfit in the bullpen. They’ve been showing signs of improvement recently, but they need to prove it for much longer. Even worse than the horrendous Orioles’ bullpen, the Nationals are 30th in the majors with an ERA of 7.23 from their relievers.
There is a large gap between the Nationals and Reds’ bullpens. Cincinnati are 5th with an ERA of 3.85 from the bullpen. It has been their one saving grace as their offense has struggled early on in 2019. A solid bullpen can carry a team far, so we’ll see if the rest falls into place for the Reds.
Tyler Mahle loves pitching at the Great American Ball Park. Here he holds a near perfect 0.82 ERA as opposed to a 4.96 ERA on the road. Corbin has been better at home than on the road, as he has posted an ERA of 3.60 and 1.27 WHIP as a visitor this year. Give me the home team as a dog to get it done on Friday to get this series underway in Cincinnati.