The Washington Nationals put the Cincinnati Reds on blast early and often Thursday. By the end of the 3rd inning, the Nationals had a 7-0 stranglehold on the Reds. The Nats’ offense can be that good, the talent is clearly on their roster. They put up a staggering 25 runs against the Mets a few games ago and then added another 5 runs the next day. Since around the trade deadline, the Nationals have been killing the ball.
Could it be that the Nationals faked Bryce Harper out by putting him on the trade block? Was he really available, or were the Nationals trying to send a message to him and the rest of the team? I’m under the assumption that the Nationals were trying to tell Harper and the rest of the team something.
The Nationals are within 5 games of the lead in the NL East, so they are still within shouting distance of the Phillies and Braves. There is still time left to stage a come from behind win, and if they continue to swing the bats like this, it’s going to get rather interesting. They should just feel fortunate that they’re in this position after the first-half the Nationals had.
The Nats could also come from behind to earn a wildcard, but there are four teams waiting in line ahead of them for the final seed. The Atlanta Braves are the first team out at the moment. So, if they can catch a wildcard, they’re likely going to be right there in the NL East as well. With approximately two months left in the regular season, this is about the right time to turn the desperation meter up. We’ll see if that 25-run effort is the turning point for their season. With a record of 55-53, the Nats are going to need more. Head below for our free Reds vs. Nationals pick for Friday night on the diamond.
Cincinnati Reds vs. Washington Nationals Pick
Anthony DeSclafani (3-4, 5.47 ERA) vs. Gio Gonzalez (6-7, 3.78 ERA)
The Reds clawed back to at least avoid an embarrassing season. Over the first months of the season, they were sitting in the basement with the worst teams in baseball. The Reds are still far from a good team, but there were guys who had some pride on this team to just lay down and go to sleep. Last night wasn’t the best example of how the Reds have played better baseball. However, pitching has certainly been a problem throughout the entire season.
They brought Matt Harvey in and that’s worked out, but he is like putting a bandage on a gunshot wound. Tyler Mahle got drilled for 6 runs in just 1.2 innings of action. DeSclafani is scheduled to get the start for the Reds on Friday evening. He has had some issues recently as well, with an ERA of 9.00 and 1.75 WHIP in his previous three showings. DeSclafani is running into the hottest offense in the majors across the past few days. The Nationals have scored 40 runs in their last three games.
Gio Gonzalez will counter for the Nationals. He was supposed to be a terrific number three guy in the rotation for the Nats. If things were according to the plan, it’d be Scherzer and Strasburg throwing darts ahead of him, and then they get another decent pitcher the next day. Gonzalez has been thrust into a larger role with the Strasburg injury issues that continue to flare up.
The Reds have done well against Gio with a batting average of .280 and 4 long balls in 82 at-bats. Joey Votto has mauled him for a .375 average and 3 homers in 24 at-bats. Eugenio Suarez has the other dinger against Gonzalez, and is also hitting .400 against him in 10 at-bats. Suarez has been mashing the ball with a .300 batting average and 25 deep balls in 2018. He nailed another one last night for his 25th. The Reds are probably going to need all of the runs they can get in this game. The Nationals look determined to show that they have a legit offense. Harper is finally swinging the bat like a guy who wants a big contract in the offseason. The OVER in Washington looks like a solid MLB pick on Friday night.