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.
Washington Nationals (23-20, 2nd in NL East) vs Cincinnati Reds (19-23, 3rd in NL Central)
Game 1: Monday, May 19th @ 7:05 PM EST
Game 2: Tuesday, May 20th @ 7:05 PM EST
Game 3: Wednesday, May 21st @ 4:05 PM EST
Probable Pitchers (Season Stats; Career vs Opposing Team)
Game 1: Stephen Strasburg (3-3, 3.48; 1-1, 7.36) vs Mike Leake (2-3, 3.09; 1st start vs WAS)
Game 2: Doug Fister (0-1, 4.76; 1st start vs CIN) vs Johnny Cueto (4-2, 1.25; 5-2, 3.99)
Game 3: Tanner Roark (3-1, 3.65; 1st start vs CIN) vs Alfredo Simon (5-2, 2.45; 1-1, 2.57)
Players to Watch
- Brandon Phillips (2B): .282 BA, 3 HR, 14 RBI
- Todd Frazier (3B): .258 BA, 7 HR, 21 RBI
- Jonathan Broxton (Reliever): 5 Saves, .90 ERA, 8 K
- Manny Parra (Reliever): 5 Holds, 18 K
- Ian Desmond (SS): .235 BA, 7 HR, 25 RBI
- Jayson Werth (RF): .296 BA, 5 HR, 19 RBI, 47 hits (team-high)
- Stephen Strasburg (SP): 3.48 ERA, 70 K (both team-highs)
- Tyler Clippard (Reliever): 4 wins, 11 holds, 1.86 ERA, 27 K, 19.1 innings (wins, holds are team-highs)
Notables on the Injury Report
Reds first baseman Joey Votto is listed as day-to-day on the team’s May 18th injury report. He’s been a thorn in the Nationals’ side going back to the 2008. Career, he’s batting .309 with nine homers and 28 RBI against Washington. Should he play, the Nationals’ pitching staff will have to be careful.
For the Nationals, their injury report consists of the usual cast of characters. Adam LaRoche and Ryan Zimmerman won’t be participating this week as their both on the DL. However, both have reportedly shown signs of progress in recent days.
This week, both Fister and Roark will be making their first starts against the Reds. Both are coming off of solid performances, so hopefully they can keep the ball rolling. For Strasburg, his most recent outing against the Reds in 2013 lasted 5.1 innings and saw Cincinnati hang six runs on the board.
In terms of the playoff picture, the Nationals sit in fifth in the National League standings 3.5 games ahead of the Reds. With the Atlanta Braves starting a four-game homestand with a good Milwaukee Brewers team Monday night, Washington has an opportunity to make up some ground. The Nationals are just a half-game back of Atlanta.
The Nationals are 9-5 against Cincinnati going back to 2012. On the road, the Reds have struggled this season, posting an 8-13 record. Offensively, they have scored 22 fewer runs this season than Washington and enter the series on a two-game losing streak.
Brian Skinnell is a sports writer born and raised in the Washington, D.C.-metro area. He’s had work published on Yahoo Sports and Rant Sports, and has made several radio show appearances across the country to discuss his works. Follow him on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+!