Coming into today’s
game massacre the Washington Nationals led the National League in scoring runs by a wide margin. They were first in batting average, on-base percentage and slugging. They were fourth in raw power, trailing the Dodgers and Brewers, two other first place teams. The Nats are near the top of the league in drawing walks and not swinging at pitches outside the strike zone. In related news, they have one of the lowest rates of soft contact in the league.
The Nationals can also pitch, at least their starters. The Reds had been shut out for more than 16 innings by the Nats rotation before Homer Bailey’s Jedi mind trick and an error produced two runs off Tanner Roark. Thank goodness for the pity runs off their bullpen yesterday and today.
And Dusty Baker’s Washington Mashionals aren’t finished with the Reds just yet. In a cruel wrap-around of fate, the Reds still face Stephen Strasburg tomorrow afternoon. When Washington leaves, Arizona (53-38) arrives for three games. With that record, the D-Backs would be in first place in the NL Central.
The Reds are now 12.5 games out of first place, and it’s well past time to stop worrying about it. More on that later tonight.
Homer Bailey finished four innings, giving up eight runs. Two home runs by Daniel Murphy did most of the damage. Bailey struck out five and walked two. Bailey has two good starts – both on the last road trip – out of five since his return. Of his three bad starts, two have been against the Nationals.
Ariel Hernandez and Drew Storen took their turns giving up home runs. Storen’s limited value in the trade market may have vanished before our eyes. Same with Tony Cingrani, who gave up two runs in his inning of work
Scooter’s Amazing Adventure continued, with the infielder knocking a couple hits, driving in three more runs.
Jesse Winker, making his first major league start in the field, lined a single to right field in his initial plate appearance. In his next two at bats, he worked walks. The Reds drew five walks today. Three by Winker and two by … wait for it … Joey Votto.
Winker’s promising plate approach is exactly what the Reds need at the top of the lineup. His on-base skills stand in stark contrast to Jose Peraza, who has now gone to the plate 178 times without a walk. Yet Peraza’s hopeless approach is tolerated by the Reds while Winker languishes in AAA. By all means, let’s hurry up and send Jesse Winker back down to Louisville. Or at least get him on the bench.
(Seriously, if drawing three walks, singling and lining out doesn’t earn Winker another start tomorrow someone ought to be fired on the spot.)