Game 6: Reds vs. Nationals (1:10 PM EDT) Cueto vs. Strasburg

USA TODAY Sports

You win one, you lose one; then you hope to win one more.

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Washington Nationals
@ Cincinnati Reds

Sunday, Apr 7, 2013, 1:10 PM EDT
Great American Ball Park

Stephen Strasburg vs Johnny Cueto

Rain. Winds blowing out to left field at 10-15 m.p.h. Game time temperature around 65.

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It's never easy to lose a game in extra innings. And, as J.J. Hoover is quickly figuring out, it's not easy to log 160+ innings from the bullpen. Regardless, the Reds will try to bounce back this afternoon against the Washington Nationals at Great American Ballpark for the rubber match in a three game series.

Despite the youthful appearance this 2013 season lets on, the matchup between aces Stephen Strasburg and Johnny Cueto is highly anticipated for both clubs. Lest we forget, both clubs underwent the 2012 postseason (save for eight pitches) without their best starting pitchers. We like to think the absence of Cueto had far greater implications for the Reds, but, as anyone who had the misfortune of listening to a national sports network last year heard, the shutdown of Strasburg was tantamount to the Nats waiving the white flag for 2012.

Washington's wait 'til next year approach ending their 2012 campaign was orchestrated for games like today. Sure, it's April 7, there aren't leaves on the trees yet, and Jayson Werth has yet to visit the disabled list, but despite all this, the buzz between these two teams today seems to even rise above Opening Day level when it comes to early baseball.

While it is still early, Reds fans are hoping that the production exhibited over the past few games is a view of things to come. Chris Heisey is hitting the ball like any right-hander immediately preceding Joey Votto should be. Zack Cozart is slowly proving that the theory of the sophomore slump is even more absurd than the Madden Curse. Todd Frazier is playing more out-of-his mind than a latter-day Al Capone. Oh, and that Shin-Soo Choo trade is looking pret-tay pret-tay pretty good.

It's a getaway day for the Reds. However, you wouldn't know that from looking at their lineup because the Reds don't have any #olds on their team requiring Sunday benching. Somewhere, Sparky Anderson is scowling at this highly-optimized lineup. Regardless, that won't stop me from saying on this beautiful day, "Go Reds! They're my favorite team!"

Lineups

REDS NATIONALS
Shin-Soo Choo CF Denard Span CF
Xavier Paul LF Jayson Werth RF
Joey Votto 1B Bryce Harper LF
Brandon Phillips 2B Ryan Zimmerman 3B
Jay Bruce RF Adam LaRoche 1B
Todd Frazier 3B Ian Desmond SS
Zack Cozart SS Danny Espinosa 2B
Ryan Hanigan C Kurt Suzuki C
Johnny Cueto P Stephen Strasburg P

Bullpen Log

Reliever 4/2 4/3 4/4 4/5 4/6 5 day totals
Aroldis Chapman - 1.0, 15p 1.0, 9p
1.0, 12p 3.0 IP, 36 pitches
Sean Marshall -


0 IP, 0 pitches
Jonathan Broxton - 1.0, 13p

1.0, 10p 2.0 IP, 23 pitches
Sam LeCure -
1.0, 14p
1.0, 9p 2.0 IP, 25 pitches
J.J. Hoover - 0.1, 13p
1.0, 17p 1.0, 19p 2.1 IP, 49 pitches
Manny Parra -

2.0, 27p
2.0 IP, 27 pitches
Alfredo Simon -
1.0, 24p
1.0, 10p 2.0 IP, 34 pitches
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