by Steve Mancuso

RC+ Preview: Reds vs. Nationals

The Reds (54-60) embark on a short road trip for a three-game series against the Washington Nationals. The Nats (62-55) are 38-22 since June 1 and had closed to within four games of Atlanta for first place in the NL East but have fallen behind the Braves pace since. The Nats do hold the lead for the first NL Wild Card spot. So the series has a direct bearing on whatever Reds postseason hopes remain after the smoke and ashes clear from Kris Bryant’s home run.

The Reds catch a break and won’t face two of the Nats best starting pitchers. Max Scherzer remains on the DL and Patrick Corbin pitched two days ago. In a must-watch matchup, Trevor Bauer will square off Wednesday afternoon against Stephen Strasburg. That game has an odd start time (4:05 p.m.) so you won’t have to find a pretext for the entire afternoon to skip work or classes.

AAccolades

Aristides Aquino was named the NL Player of the Week for his performance last week. Not the Rookie player of the Week. THE Player of the Week.

Not bad for a guy who has been in the majors for 11 games. In case you missed it this morning. Aquino was the subject of our Get Your Monday Off to a Great Stat post.

Reds 2020 Schedule

Released today. Opening Day is March 26 against the stupid St. Louis Cardinals. Visits to GABP by American League teams: Cleveland, Tampa Bay, Baltimore and Boston.

Roster Move

The Reds claimed Freddy Galvis (SS) off waivers from the Toronto Blue Jays this afternoon. Matt wrote a terrific post analyzing Galvis both at the plate and in the field. It’s possible the acquisition is related to the biceps injury that has kept Jose Iglesias out of the past few games. But Iglesias is in the lineup today. The Reds are on the hook for about $1 million of Galvis’ 2019 salary and a $1 million 2020 buyout. I doubt the Reds picked up the 29-year-old as an insurance policy, but maybe. Either way, it would be worth your while to read Matt’s post and get familiar with the newest Cincinnati Reds player.

Galvis reports tomorrow. That’s when we’ll find out who gets demoted or cut to make room for him on the roster. He’ll wear #3.

Pitching Matchup

If you look just at ERA (and why would you do that if you’ve come to this site?) you’ll be woefully misinformed about tonight’s matchup. Look at the vast gap in strikeouts and swinging strikes. Fedde’s K% is almost equal to his BB%. That’s why his SIERA is 1.41 runs higher than Disco’s despite having the same ERA. And try not to stare too long at Fedde’s xwOBA, it’s not polite.

Anthony DeSclafani didn’t face the Nats in June. His SIERA and xwOBA are both below league average, which is a great situation to have for your #5 starter.

Fedde pitched against the Reds on June 1 when he was transitioning from the bullpen to the rotation. He went four innings, giving up two runs. He walked three and struck out three.

Reds Lineup and Stats

David Bell is going with the left-handed lineup plus Superman tonight. Jesse Winker in LF and leading off. Josh VanMeter playing 2B and batting fourth. Aquino batting fifth. Jose Iglesias gets his first start in a while, having rested for a biceps issue.

[Graphics: Baseball Savant]

Nats Lineup and Stats

The Nationals have a terrific top four in their lineup. Trea Turner is a leadoff hitter (.352 OBP) with some pop (10 HR). He’s also swiped 25 bases with 4 CS. Turner missed a month and a half early in the season. Anthony Rendon is having an MVP-caliber season (153 wRC+) and would be in the conversation were it not for guys named Bellinger and Yelich. Matt Adams has been a Reds-killer. After that part of the lineup, the Nats become less scary.

[Graphics: Baseball Savant]

Steve Mancuso is a lifelong Reds fan who grew up during the Big Red Machine era. He’s been writing about the Reds for more than ten years. Steve’s fondest memories about the Reds include attending a couple 1975 World Series games, being at Homer Bailey’s second no-hitter and going nuts for Jay Bruce at Clinchmas. Steve was also at all three games of the 2012 NLDS, but it’s too soon to talk about that.