The Nationals haven’t been very good this season, but they may be turning it on just in time for this series with the Reds. They’re eight games under .500 and nine games behind the Phillies for the NL East crown, so things haven’t gone very well. That said, they are winners of five of their last six games (though three of them came against the Marlins and I’m not even sure that counts as anymore).
Starting pitching hasn’t been much of the problem, and the Reds will catch two of the three best pitchers in the National League this weekend. Up first is Patrick Corbin, who is certainly earning the massive contract he cashed in on this past offseason. It appears that 2018 wasn’t a fluke. Through his first 72 IP, Corbin’s 2.85 ERA is actually a touch better than 2018’s breakout year. He’s striking out 10 per nine innings while walking only 2.7. He’s been every bit as good as the Nationals could’ve hoped, and probably better. He currently leads all National League pitchers in bWAR, and it’s not particularly close.
Of course, number two and three on that list are also Nationals pitchers. The Reds will miss Stephen Strasburg, thankfully, but will catch Max Scherzer on Sunday.
Hopefully the Reds have actually found their offense over the last week, because they’re going to need it all this weekend.
Tyler Mahle will look to continue his solid 2019 campaign for the good guys in this one. Mahle is walking less than two batters per nine innings this year, which is pretty stellar, really. He did get thumped by the Cubs his last time out, so hopefully the Nats lineup will be a pallet cleanser for the young righty.
Joey Votto is back in the lineup after missing the last three games with a tight hamstring. Also featured in this lineup is Eugenio Suarez, which is a good sign after he had to leave Wednesday’s game late after being beaned on the hand because Clint Hurdle is a turd.