The Washington Nationals welcome the Cincinnati Reds for a three-game series at Nationals Park. The Nationals are going to be in a pressure cooker for the rest of the regular season. They’re in the midst of a tight race in the National League, which is going to go down to the wire. There are several teams involved, with the Reds, Giants, Diamondbacks, Phillies, Mets, Brewers, Cardinals, and Nationals all within five games of one another.
The Padres even have an outside shot at 6.5 games to get into the Wild Card Game. At the top of the wildcard race are the Nationals with a record of 62-55. They have a half game on the Cardinals for homefield advantage in the Wild Card Game. If the postseason started today, it’d be the Cardinals against the Nationals in Washington. One team or both of them could easily change between now and the end of September, though.
With a successful series in Washington, the Reds could effectively jump right into the hunt. They blew a glorious opportunity with Luis Castillo on the bump Sunday to win three out of four against the Cubs. Instead, they had to settle for a split at home with their ace on the mound. Jon Lester pitched a nice game to bounce back from recent struggles for him. The Cubs are hanging tough in the NL Central, as they go into this week with a 2-game lead over the St. Louis Cardinals.
The Nationals were able to salvage their weekend in Queens with a win on Sunday over the Mets. It snapped an eight-game winning streak for the Mets, who are the first team out of the postseason at this moment. Erick Fedde will be in the driver’s seat for the Nats as they go for back-to-back wins. The Reds must quickly forget about their series at home against the Cubs. A hard-fought series against a divisional foe can turn into a hangover. Anthony DeSclafani will toe the rubber for the Reds to open the contest. Head below for our free Reds vs. Nationals pick.
Cincinnati Reds vs. Washington Nationals Pick:
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This is a critical series for the Reds, as they could quickly play catch up with the Nationals in three days. What makes their comeback quest plenty difficult is the number of teams they have to worry about. They’re trying to catch multiple teams and have to hope they all trip over themselves as well.
This isn’t an opponent that the Reds have had success against in the past. The Reds are just 7-19 in their last 26 games vs the Nationals and 3-9 in their last 12 at Nationals Park. Washington are 8-2 over the Reds in their previous ten meetings. Erick Fedde has allowed no runs against the Reds in 17 at-bats. He enters with an ERA of 4.20 and 1.42 WHIP on the year.
Fedde is coming off a standout performance against the Giants, where he allowed no runs in 6 innings of work. That helped his numbers after getting drilled for 9 earned runs in 3.2 innings vs the Braves. Fedde has a 6.10 ERA and 1.65 WHIP at home in 2019, though that performance skewed it up considerably. He allowed just 1-run against the Rockies and 2 against the Phillies in two home starts before that disaster. Also note that he’s allowed 2 or less runs in four of his previous five outings.
DeSclafani has had an identical season, with an ERA of 4.20 on the year. He enters with a 4.70 ERA and 1.50 WHIP in his last three starts. DeSclafani was nailed for 4 earned runs in his most recent outing, which came against the Angels. He also yielded 5 hits and 3 walks.
Control has been an issue for him, as he’s issued 7 walks in his last three performances. DeSclafani has also allowed 12 hits in his last 10.1 innings on the bump. The Reds have had trouble on the road, with a 23-32 record going into Washington, a place they’ve historically struggled. The Nationals likely return home on Monday and likely find some momentum after an upset of Jacob deGrom yesterday afternoon.