The Reds are coming off a series split in Boston. Much like the Reds, Boston has been playing very well of late so splitting was not an easy task. The Reds will look to stay hot as they start a four game set against the Washington Nationals.
Reds Record 17-32
Nationals Record 18-34
Graham Ashcraft 1.69 ERA vs Joan Adon 6.08 ERA
Mike Minor (season debut) vs Josiah Gray 5.08 ERA
Tyler Mahle 5.53 ERA vs Erick Fedde 4.60 ERA
Luis Castillo 3.38 vs Patrick Corbin 6.96 ERA
What to watch for:
The Reds have not had the best pitching so far this season. Over the last few weeks things have picked up a bit, but this series provides a number of reasons to pay attention to Reds pitching. Graham Ashcraft has been stellar in his young career so far and looks to continue that. Tyler Mahle is coming off his best start ever where he nearly threw a no hitter, while Luis Castillo also only allowed one hit in his last start. The most interesting start to me will be Mike Minor making his Reds debut. Minor was acquired in the offseason and the Reds had high expectations for him, reuniting him with one of his old coaches in Derek Johnson.
Keys to a series win
We talked about the pitching but the focus of this series has to be the offense. The Nationals have struggled just like the Reds have, but unlike the Reds they have not had a great stretch of baseball yet. The Reds have had a great 26 game stretch and if they want to be taken more seriously, they have to beat up on bad teams. If you consider the facts that the Reds average more runs at home and the Nationals have the second worst team ERA in baseball, the Reds offense should be in for a very high scoring series.
Even though the Nationals have a slightly better record, the Reds have been playing much better baseball of late. It is always hard to count out a team that has Juan Soto but his supporting cast is severely lacking outside of a few other guys. If this game was in Washington I think this prediction would be different, I think the Reds will take this series three games to one. This prediction lies solely on the Reds offense and if they produce as they should then I feel very confident in this prediction but if Washington can limit the damage then we’re looking at more of a split.