5. Fister vs the Reds: Doug Fister was on the DL when the Washington Nationals visited Cincinnati, so he missed the first series of the season with the Reds, which saw the Nats drop three straight in Great American Ball Park.
In three starts since coming off the DL, including a six-inning outing against the Braves in Atlanta last time out in which he gave up seven hits, two walks and four runs, all earned, the 31-year-old right-hander was (1-2) heading into the series opener tonight, with a 4.42 ERA and .278/.316/.431 line against in 18 ⅓ innings pitched.
The last start, in Turner Field, was a tough one for the sinker-balling veteran, who told reporters afterwards that it was a struggle from the first pitch.
"Fighting myself a little bit," Fister admitted. "Period, didn't get my job done. Didn't keep our team in the game and that's hurts."
It wasn't, however, an issue of endurance, or stamina, after over a month on the Disabled List with tightness in his right forearm.
"I feel like I'm in the right spot," Fister explained. "Things are starting to get back to normal, it's just a matter of fine-tuning and really [getting] back to the game plan. Little misses here and there and that's what I've got to be a little better at."
The loss to the Braves left him (3-4) on the year with a 4.34 ERA, 4.65 FIP, 13 walks (2.02 BB/9) 29 Ks (4.50 K/9) and a .279/.327/.448 line against in 58 IP.
Tonight he was back at home, however, where he had a 3.69 ERA in 31 ⅔ IP so far in 2015 (vs a 5.13 ERA in 26 ⅓ away from D.C.), a 4.09 FIP (vs 5.32) and a .242/.298/.397 line against (vs .319/.359/.505).
The series opener with the visiting Reds began with a line drive single to left by Brandon Phillips, who was forced out at second in the next at bat as Fister worked his way toward a scoreless 12-pitch first.
Doug Fister threw away a swinging bunt by Reds' catcher Brayan Pena, skipping a throw by first after picking the wet ball up off the infield grass. Pena took second on the error, and third on a grounder up the middle by Eugenio Suarez that Danny Espinosa dove for and fielded before throwing to first, where Clint Robinson failed to find the bag.
Suarez got picked off first by Wilson Ramos on a failed bunt attempt by Anthony DeSclafani, but the opposing pitcher doubled in a run with a line drive to left on the next pitch, 1-0 Reds. 18-pitch second for Fister, 30 total after two.
Joey Votto lined a one-out single to right in the Reds' third, but he was doubled up in the next at bat when Todd Frazier rolled one out to second to start an inning-ending 4-6-3. 10-pitch frame, 40 total after three.
With the score tied at 1-1, Jay Bruce doubled to deep center, over Michael Taylor's head with a line drive on the first pitch of the fourth. Fister got two outs without Bruce advancing, but Ian Desmond skipped a throw two second on a grounder to short by Eugenio Suarez that Clint Robinson couldn't pick. E:6, no.19.
With runners on first and third, Fister walked DeSclafani, but Billy Hamilton got BABIP'd on a lineout to second that ended a 19-pitch frame. 59 total.
Todd Frazier lined a two-out single to center in the fifth, but a groundout to first by Jay Bruce ended the frame after 13 pitches from Fister, who was up to 72 total.
Marlon Byrd doubled off the top of the out-of-town scoreboard in right in the first at bat of the sixth, but it was initially ruled a home run to right. Upon review, however, it appeared to hit the padding atop the wall, so it was correctly called a double. One out later, Eugenio Suarez lined an RBI single to left over a diving Danny Espinosa to put the Reds ahead, 2-1. 14-pitch fifth, 86 total.
Tyler Moore hit for Fister with two on and two out in the Nationals' sixth.
• Doug Fister's Line: 6.0 IP, 8 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 2 Ks, 86 P, 62 S, 8/3 GO/FO.
The line on Doug Fister tonight: 6 IP, 8 H, 2 R (1 ER), 1 BB, 2 K -- 86 pitches, 62 strikes. pic.twitter.com/rtLeJH4IYW
— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) July 7, 2015
4. DEE-sclafani: Anthony DeSclafani was acquired by the Cincinnati Reds in the Mat Latos deal last December after Toronto's 2011 sixth-round pick by, acquired in Miami's blockbuster November 2012 deal with the Blue Jays, made his major league for the Marlins in 2014.
DeSclafani was (2-2) in 13 games, five starts and 33 IP for the Fish, posting a 6.27 ERA, a 3.77 FIP, five walks (1.36 BB/9) and 26 Ks (7.09 K/9).
In his first 16 starts for the Reds, the 6'1'' right-hander was (5-6) this season before facing the Nationals tonight, with a 3.68 ERA, 3.70 FIP, 37 walks (3.49 BB/9) and 68 Ks (6.42 K/9) in 95 ⅓ IP, six of them against Washington during the three-game series in Great American Ball Park in late May.
DeSclafani held the Nats to two runs on eight hits in what ended up a 5-2 win for the Reds. Since the Nats last saw him, the hard-throwing righty was (2-2) in six starts with Cincinnati 3-3 in his outings, which saw him put up a 4.10 ERA and a .293/.348/.422 line against in 37 ⅓ IP.
Ranked sixth in Cincinnati's system by Baseball America before the season began, DeSclafani, who features a four-seamer (92.5 mph AVG), two-seamer (91.8), slider (86.2) and occasional curve (77.4 mph, but thrown just 3.4% of the time), took the mound in the nation's capital tonight in the series opener in Nationals Park looking to snap a four-start winless streak.
His outing began with a scoreless 16-pitch first, which was interrupted by a twenty-minute rain delay after he recorded the first two outs of the game.
Given a 1-0 lead to work with, DeSclafani walked Clint Robinson with one down in the second, but stranded the Nats' first baserunner at the end of an 18-pitch frame that left him at 34 total after two.
Matt den Dekker, who came on for Denard Span, connected with a first-pitch fastball, sending a two-out single to right field in the Nationals' half of the third. Todd Frazier charged a swinging bunt from Yunel Escobar, but came up empty on the barehand attempt. Bryce Harper stepped in next to the strains of Frank Sinatra's "The Best is Yet to Come" and took a base-loading walk in front of Wilson Ramos, who took a pitch in the dirt that got away from Brayan Pena and rolled far enough for den Dekker to come in from third. 1-1 game. Ramos grounded out to end the threat. 23-pitch frame. 57 total after three.
Danny Espinosa doubled to center with one down in the Nationals' fourth, and took third on a groundout to short by Ian Desmond, but he was stranded there when Michael Taylor popped out to end a 17-pitch inning that pushed the Reds' starter up to 74 total.
Dan Uggla walked with two down, in a pinch hit appearance for Yunel Escobar, but Bryce Harper grounded out to end a 14-pitch fifth that left DeSclafani at 88 total.
Given a 2-1 lead to work with, DeSclafani retired the first two batters in the Nats' sixth, but a 2-1 slider to Nats' third baseman Danny Espinosa ended up soaring out to right-center for a game-tying home run. No.9 for Espinosa. Ian Desmond singled in the next at bat and Michael Taylor walked to end DeSclafani's outing...
• Anthony DeSclafani's Line: 5.2 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 4 BB, 6 Ks, 1 HR, 102 P, 64 S, 6/0 GO/FO.
3. Random Game Notes: The Reds swept the three-game set with the Nationals in Great American Ball Park in late May, taking all three from a Washington team that headed to Cincinnati on a run after having won 11 of 15 games before the start of that series.
• It was the Reds' first sweep of a series against the Nationals in four years, going back to August 2011.
• Cincy third baseman Todd Frazier came into the series with a .285/.344/.602 line, 24 doubles and 25 HRs in 79 games and 349 plate appearances. He's the first Reds player to ever produced at least 24 doubles and 25 home runs before the All-Star Break.
• The Reds lead the majors in stolen bases with 82 in 106 attempts, but they're facing Doug Fister, who's allowed just one stolen base in a season and a half in a Nationals uniform.
• The Nationals have issued no more than two walks in each of their last 18 starts, which according to Elias Sports, as mentioned in the Nats pregame notes, is the longest such stretch for any team in Major League history tied with the 1919 Pittsburgh Pirates.
• Denard Span left the game after two innings tonight, replaced in center by Michael Taylor with Matt den Dekker coming on to play left field. Guess? Span's back acting up again, but the Nats, of course, don't give any injury info until after the game.
• Yunel Escobar left the game in the fifth, replaced by Dan Uggla when his spot in the order came up.
2. Turning Point(s): The Nationals were charged with one error in the Reds' second, on a throw by Doug Fister that skipper by first on a swinging bunt by Brayan Pena, but they made three costly mistakes.
Clint Robinson failed to find the bag on a nice diving play by Danny Espinosa at second in the next at bat, and Fister left a two-out pitch up for the opposing pitcher, Anthony DeSclafani, who lined an RBI double to left field for a 1-0 lead early in the series opener in D.C.
• The Nationals rallied to tie it up at 1-1 in the third, loading the bases with two out before Matt den Dekker charged home from third on a wild pitch that bounces off Pena and rolled far enough in front of the plate to allow the speedy Nats' outfielder to slide in headfirst around the tag.
• Marlon Byrd came about as close as you can to a solo home run in the top of the sixth, but it bounced off the padding on top of the out-of-town scoreboard in right and was downgraded to a double. Byrd ended up scoring anyway on an RBI single by Eugenio Suarez, but Danny Espinosa tied it back up in the bottom of the inning with a two-run home run to right-center. 2-2.
• Casey Janssen was up 0-2 on Reds' shortstop Eugenio Suarez with one out in the eighth when he left a hanging curve up inside that the infielder yanked out to left for a solo blast that put the Reds up, 3-2.
1. The Wrap-Up: Former Nationals' reliever Ryan Mattheus took over on the mound with two on and two out in the Nats' sixth, and got the last out to keep it tied at 2-2.
Blake Treinen gave up a one-out single by Joey Votto in the Reds' seventh. A two-out walk to Jay Bruce brought Marlon Byrd to the plate, but he couldn't lay off Treinen's slider and he K'd swinging to end a 20-pitch frame.
Manny Parra threw a quick, 1-2-3 bottom of the seventh.
Casey Janssen got the first out of the Reds' eighth, but left an 0-2 curve up inside for Eugenio Suarez, who took it out to left and over the wall for a solo blast that gave Cincinnati a 3-2 lead.
J.J. Hoover retired the Nationals in order in the eighth.
Felipe Rivero threw a scoreless 14-pitch ninth.
Aroldis Chapman came on looking for save no.17 of 2015 and issued a one-out walk to Michael Taylor, who took second base on a wild pitch to pinch hitter Jose Lobaton. Lobaton K'd swinging at a 102 mph fastball up high outside for out no.2. Matt den Dekker stepped in with the tying run at second, and grounded out to short. Ballgame.
Nationals now 46-37