April 21, 2021

Washington Nationals vs Cincinnati Reds Series Preview

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This Monday through Wednesday, the Washington Nationals welcome the Cincinnati Reds to D.C. Here’s a series preview to get yourself ready for the three-game set. [Read more…]

Washington Nationals Game 25 Review: Nats performance as dreary as the weather in 5-2 loss to Reds

Looking to complete the rare four-game sweep, instead the Washington Nationals fell into a lot of the same mistakes that have plagued them all season. Missed opportunities. Sketchy defense. Questionable decisions. It all ended up in a 5-2 loss to the Cincinnati Reds on a dreary, rainy day before 36,457 at Nationals Park. The Nationals crossed the 500,000 mark in attendance in April with the big weekend series.

The Nats (13-12) biggest obstacle Sunday was Reds rookie pitcher Tony Cingrani. Making his third MLB start, the lefty was sublime, using a mid-90s fastball and sharp breaking ball to strike out 11 in six innings. The Nats managed just two hits off Cingrani and walked once.

Ross Detwiler, the Nats starter, was off for the first time this season and received “death by papercuts,” allowing four runs on 11 hits — 10 singles and four infield singles — in five innings to take his second loss of the season.

The Reds got into Detwiler right off the bat in the first inning. Zack Cozart singled to the opposite field on a 2-2 count with one out, followed by a rocket double to the left field corner by Joey Votto. Brandon Phillips then singled to center, scoring both runners.

The second inning saw more damage to Detwiler’s ERA. With one out, Cingrani reached when his ground ball hit the third base bag and eluded Anthony Rendon. Shin-Soo Choo grounded to Rendon to start what could have been a double play, but Danny Espinosa flat-out dropped the relay, so all hands were safe. Cozart drew a five-pitch walk, and Votto singled to plate Cingrani. It could have been worse, but Phillips lined into a 3-6 double play to end the inning.

Cincinnati picked up another run against Detwiler in the fourth. Catcher Corky Miller reached on an infield single, took second on the pitcher’s sacrifice, went to third on Choo’s ground out and scored on Cozart’s infield single. The Reds nickel-and-dimed Detwiler to death.

The Nats finally got on the board in the seventh. Ian Desmond singled on a bloop to right field. After Adam LaRoche struck out (0-for-25, 13 Ks in his last six games) Anthony Rendon drew a walk. Kurt Suzuki followed with a double into the left field corner that scored Desmond. But with one out and runners at second and third, the Nats wasted those other runners, as Steve Lombardozzi pinch-hit into a comebacker and Denard Span grounded to short to end the rally.

Manager Davey Johnson went to Henry Rodriguez for the eighth, and it cost his team a run. Hot Rod faced four batters, walking three of them. He threw 17 pitches, four of which were strikes. Ryan Mattheus entered with the bases loaded and Cozart greeted him with a sacrifice fly to score a run. Mattheus limited the damage by getting Votto to line out to end the inning.

The Nats got that run back in the bottom of the frame. With one out, Harper drew a walk on a 10-pitch at bat against Jonathan Broxton. One out later, Ian Desmond lofted a fly ball to right center that Shin-Soo Choo couldn’t handle. The ball kicked away and Harper scored from first, with Desmond getting credit for a double. Desmond was left stranded when LaRoche flied out for the final out.

Aroldis Chapman blew the Nats away in the bottom of the ninth for his sixth save of the season.

THE GOOD: Craig Stammen. Two perfect innings of relief with two more Ks.

THE BAD: Adam LaRoche: 0-for-5, 3 Ks. 5 LOB. Denard Span: 0-for-5, 4 LOB.

THE UGLY: Henry Rodriguez. 17 pitches, four strikes. Ino ne sequence, he almost hit Miller in the head, and bounced the next pitch in the left-handed batters box, which skipped to the backstop, ricocheted and almost hit Rodriguez at the pitcher’s mound on the rebound. (link courtesy @recordsandradio)

THE STATS: 5 hits, 4 BBs, 14 Ks. 1-for-7 with RISP, 8 LOB. E: Espinosa (2, catch), Rendon (3, throw). DP: 2.

NEXT GAME: Monday at 7:10 pm against the Atlanta Braves from Turner Field. Stephen Strasburg 91-4, 3.16) faces Julio Teheran (1-0, 5.48).

Washington Nationals Game 24 Review: Span’s grabs highlight Nats 6-3 win over Reds

What a difference a couple of days makes.

After falling below .500 for the fist time since 2011 earlier in the week, the Washington Nationals found the elixir to their problems in a strange place: the very good Cincinnati Reds. The Nats used a strong starting performance from Dan Haren, some timely defense, and another blast by Bryce Harper to beat the Reds, 6-3, for their third straight victory against the N.L. Central powerhouse, before an appreciative 38,903 at Nationals Park.

Haren (W, 2-3, 6.29) earned his second win of the season, going six strong innings, and looked more like the pitcher the Nats thought they were buying this off-season than the one that was kicked around in his first few starts. And Denard Span showed again why GM Mike Rizzo was so keen on the center fielder, as he made a pair of run saving catches in the late innings to save the Nats’ collective bacon.

The Nats (13-11) jumped out in the second off Reds starter Mike Leake (L, 1-1, 4.34). Showing uncommon patience, Ian Desmond and Anthony Rendon drew consecutive one-out walks to get the rally started. Kurt Suzuki popped out for the second out of the inning to bring up Haren. Haren, one of the better hitting pitchers in the game, fouled off a couple of pitches until he got one he could handle, and he flipped a single into right on the fifth pitch of the at bat to plate Desmond for the Nats first run. Denard Span followed with a ground ball single to center to score Rendon.

They went back at it in the third. Bryce Harper led off with a single to left and went to second on Werth’s infield single. After Adam LaRoche popped out, Ian Desmond delivered with a single to center to bring home Harper. Rendon took a called strike three and Suzuki grounded to third, but Reds 3B Jack Hannahan threw wide trying for the force at second base and the ball got away, allowing Werth to score the Nats fourth run of the game.

The Reds got one back in the fourth inning. Joey Votto doubled to left field with two outs and scored on Brandon Phillips single. Haren ended the rally, striking out Jay Bruce on three pitches.

Harper continued his hot April, launching his ninth home run of the season in the bottom of the inning. His two-run shot came with Danny Espinosa on board after a fielder’s choice wiped out Span’s second hit of the game, a single to center to lead off the inning.

The Reds chipped away at the Nats lead in the later innings. They got one off Haren in the sixth, as Shin-Soo Choo led off the frame with a solo home run. Haren escaped the inning without further damage, completing his best appearance of the season. The veteran right-hander allowed just two runs and six hits over six innings, walking none and striking out five.

In the seventh, manager Davey Johnson called upon Zach Duke to face three straight lefty batters and it didn’t work out all that well. Jay Bruce reached via throwing error by Danny Espinosa, and Xavier Paul followed with a base on balls. Duke retired Hannahan and Devin Mesoraco, and Reds manager Dusty Baker then called on Todd Frazier to pinch-hit for pitcher Alfredo Simon.

Johnson countered with Tyler Clippard, and the normally reliable righty showed rust from being off for a couple of days. Frazier singled to score Bruce, then Clipaprd walked Choo to load the bases for shortstop Zach Cozart. Cozart crushed a 1-0 pitch to center that looked like it would clear the bases, but for the second inning in a row, center fielder Denard Span made a game-saving catch, running down Cozart’s blast to end the threat.

Rafael Soriano retired the side in order in the ninth for his seventh save of the season, but Span should get credit for the save in this one.

THE GOOD: Denard Span. Made a leaping catch at the wall to rob Joey Votto of extra bases in the sixth and let Haren enjoy his best game of the season, Then in the seventh, made an even better catch of a potentially much more damaging drive from Cozart against Clippard. Moar UZR, please.

THE BAD: Tyler Clippard. Not sharp at all. Really bailed out by Span. 12 pitches, five for strikes.

THE UGLY: Danny Espinosa: 0-for-4. .174/.219/.348. Adam LaRoche: 0-for-4. .143/.221/.286.

THE STATS: 10 hits, 5 BBs, 5 Ks. 4-for-12 with RISP, 8 LOB. E: Espinosa (1, throw); 3 DPs.

NEXT GAME: Sunday at 1:35 pm against the Reds. Ross Detwiler (1-1. 1.38) hosts lefty Tony Cingrani (1-0, 2.25).

Washington Nationals Game 23 Review: Nats write history with second consecutive one-hitter vs. Reds

For the second night in a row, the Washington Nationals (12-11) one-hit the Cincinnati Reds (13-11), this time for a 1-0 win under the command of Jordan Zimmermann.

Jordan Zimmermann was on fire from start to finish – so much so that, after the game, Davey Johnson referred to his outing as the best pitching performance he had seen since coming to Washington. [Read more…]

Washington Nationals Game 22 Review: Gio’s gem helps Nats get on track against Reds

Natstown has been waiting for a game like this.

Gio Gonzalez pitched like an All-Star, giving the Washington Nationals eight innings of one-hit ball. And the bats finally broke out, with 12 hits and five extra base hits — including homers by Bryce Harper and Danny Espinosa. The result was an 8-1 drubbing of the Cincinnati Reds before 24,748 at chilly Nationals Park.

Gonzalez was, in a word, sublime. He spotted his two-seam fastball all night, keeping Reds hitters off-balance with a wicked curveball. The only hit he allowed was Joey Votto’s opposite field home run in the fourth inning, little more than a blip against his record. Gio struck out seven in the effort to move to 2-1 on the season with a 4.50 ERA.

The bats jumped all over Reds’ starter Bronson Arroyo, starting in the second inning. Ian Desmond hit a one-out single and scored on Espinosa’s double to the wall in right center. Espinosa went to third on Kurt Suzuki’s soft line drive over the shortstop’s head. After a sacrifice by Gonzalez, Espinosa carried home the Nats second run of the game on Denard Span’s infield single to short.

The Nats got right back at it in the third. Harper led off with his eighth home run of the season, a no-doubter to center. Jayson Werth followed with a single to left. Adam LaRoche reached on an error by Votto, and the runners moved up to second and third. Werth scored on a Desmond ground out, which moved LaRoche up to third. Espinosa then yanked an 88-MPH sinker into the Nats bullpen in right field to give the Nats a comfortable six-run lead.

The home team tacked on two more in the eighth inning. With two outs, Suzuki drew a base on balls from reliever Logan Ondrusek. Roger Bernadina, pinch-hitting for Gonzalez, singled to center for his first hit of the season. Span followed with a line drive over center fielder Shin-Soo Choo’s head, clearing the bases with his first triple of the season.

Rafael Soriano, who hadn’t pitched in five days, walked Choo to lead off the ninth, but erased him on a double play and got Votto to ground out to finish the game.

THE GOOD: Danny Espinosa. batting lefty, the switch-hitting second baseman needed a night like that. 2-for-4, homer, double, three RBIs.

THE BAD: Steve Lombardozzi. Inserted in the two-hole (and playing third base) to shake things up a bit, Lombo went 0-for-5 and didn’t make solid contact on anything.

THE UGLY: Adam LaRoche. Another o-fer (0-for-4, K) drops his early average to .159/.243/.317. A career .219 hitter, he can’t wait to see the calendar flip at this point.

THE STATS: 12 hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks. 4-for-9 with RISP, 6 LOB. No errors, 1 DP.

NEXT GAME: Friday night at 7:05 against the Reds. Jordan Zimmermann (3-1, 2.67) hosts Homer Bailey (1-1, 3.24).

Washington Nationals Game 6 Review: Reds take series with 6-3 win over Strasburg, Nats

After a strong outing against the Miami Marlins on Monday, Stephen Strasburg (1-1 struggled Sunday afternoon in the Washington Nationals’ (4-2) 6-3 loss to the Cincinnati Reds (4-2) at the Great American Ball Park.

In 5 1/3 innings, the pitching ace allowed nine hits, four walks and six runs over 114 pitches – 73 of which were strikes.

The Reds proved a headache for Strasburg without ever banking on the long ball. Shin-Soo Choo flew out to right in the bottom of the first before four consecutive Reds reached base safely. Xavier Paul and Brand Phillips sandwiched a Joey Votto walk with two singles before Jay Bruce doubled to left to plate Paul and Votto. Phillips reached home on a Todd Frazier ground out and Cincinnati took a 3-0 lead into the second inning. [Read more…]

Washington Nationals Game 4 Review: Reds’ six homers bring Nats back down to earth with first loss

After starting the season with a commanding 3-0 record, the Washington Nationals (3-1) gave up six home runs to the Cincinnati Reds (3-1) Friday night at the Great American Ball Park in a tough-to-swallow 15-0 loss.

Dan Haren’s first start of the season was a rough one, however, he gave up just one hit – to Joey Votto, in the first – before Cincinnati did its first round of damage in the second inning. [Read more…]

Washington Nationals Game 34 Review: Votto slams Nats with walk-off homer against Hot Rod

The game was delayed for over three hours due to a steady rain that fell in the Cincinnati area overnight, continued into the morning, and just kept on falling throughout the game. Maybe now the Nats wish they went ahead and called it.

Leading 6-5 going into the bottom of the ninth, “Bad Henry” showed up again, as Henry Rodriguez gave up a seeing-eye single ahead of two walks, bringing up Joey Votto, who had only gone 3-for-4 with two home runs and a double to that point in the game. On a 2-2 fastball that caught too much of the plate, Votto ended it, sending the 96-MPH offering into the batter’s eye in center field, delivering a walk-off grand slam and a 9-6 win for the Reds. [Read more…]

Washington Nationals Game 33 Review: Nats beat Reds but lose Ramos to ACL injury

For the second time in as many nights, the Washington Nationals emerged victorious in a one-run game, defeating the Cincinnati Reds, 2-1, thanks to a strong effort on the mound by Jordan Zimmermann and two solo home runs.

Their win – their 21st on the season – did not come without a price, however. [Read more…]

Washington Nationals Game 10 Review: Nats comeback, only to eventually fall in extras to Reds, 8-5

Ultimately, some bad umpiring in the first inning only served to show the resiliency of this Washington Nationals team. But facing extra innings again today, the Nats couldn’t find the magic to take the win. Tyler Clippard, who apparently has been nursing some “arm discomfort”, was slapped around in the 11th inning allowing three runs on four hits and the Nats fell to the Cincinnati Reds, 8-5, before a Sunday crowd of 25,679.

Manger Davey Johnson said Clippard had some trouble warming up in Saturday’s game and would only use Clippard in an “emergency” situation today. With Detwiler leaving after five innings — setting up a parade of relievers — Johnson found that very situation in the 11th. [Read more…]

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