After the Washington Nationals’ three-game winning streak was halted after another lead was blown in the bullpen, we were reminded that this team has a horrible bullpen, mind-boggling struggles with bases loaded offense, and the inability to score in extra innings.
The bullpen issues are clearly about the personnel and they are near the bottom of almost all statistical categories for relief pitching. The bases loaded offensive issues in which the team is batting just .195 is more the mindset of the continual swinging for the fences. Their OPS in bases loaded spots in an anemic .555. Worse than that, the team is batting .184 in extra innings.
For today’s game, the team has Erick Fedde on the mound. What we have noticed is how he struggles retiring the top of opposing batting orders in the first inning and exerts a lot of energy in a high pitch count first inning. The ERA is fine in the first inning, but Fedde hits the wall in the fifth inning in most games. He has a 7.91 ERA in the fifth inning this year. That won’t cut it.
The Nats will face the righty Vladimir Gutierrez of the Reds. He is their #5 pitcher in their rotation. We will see what the Nats can do as none of them have faced him at the MLB level before.
Soto still leads all of MLB in Batting Average. He is now in the position where others are trying to catch him rather than the other way around. Similar to last night, assuming a maximum of 5 ABs, Vladimir Guerrero, Trea Turner and Yuli Gurriel can catch him tonight. So Bryce Harper and Nick Castellanos have been dropped from the table (for now, and hopefully, for the rest of the season). However, Starling Marte and Michael Brantley have numbers similar to Gurriel so if they go on a hot streak we might have to add them to the mix for the MLB lead. We will know more about Gurriel and Brantley by the start of today’s game since Houston’s game is an afternoon game (4:07PM ET),
However, for now the NL race is a two person race between Turner and Soto.
Just as for last night’s game, we’ve included a table that shows for all the possible combinations up to 5 ABs what Guerrero, Turner and Gurriel have to do to catch him for the BA lead.
- A blank means the other player can’t catch Soto (e.g., if Soto goes 3-5, none of the three players can catch him).
- If Soto goes 1-2, Turner will have to go 4-4 or 5-5 to pass Soto for the NL BA lead.
- Likewise, if Soto goes 1-2, Guerrero will have to go 5-5 for the MLB lead.
Washington Nationals vs. Cincinnati Reds
Stadium: Great American Ball Park , Cincinnati, Ohio
1st Pitch: 7:10 pm EDT
TV: MASN2, Bally Sports Ohio, MLB.TV
Nats Radio: 106.7 FM The Fan; SiriusXM® ( Streaming Internet 869)
Line-ups subject to change without notice: