Heading into today’s doubleheader with the Reds, Washington had beaten Cincinnati in eight straight games going back to July 14, 2017, scoring at least 10 four times over that stretch and outscoring the Reds 66-28 in those eight games.
Davey Martinez’s Nationals were on a roll too, with three straight wins and wins in 6 of 8 games, and they ranked first among NL teams in SLG ( .494), OBP (.370), OPS (.864), and runs scored (83), while ranking second in batting average (.281) since the All-Star Break.
They’d also outscored their opponents 67-25 over the last eight games, with Nationals’ starting pitchers posting a 1.88 ERA and holding opposing hitters to a .188 AVG in that stretch.
Four of the eight straight wins over the Reds came this season, and the Nationals had won 14 of the last 16 games against the Reds, outscoring them 134-67 since June of 2015.
So, of course, this afternoon, in the first game of today’s split doubleheader, the Nats got beat, 7-1, managing just seven hits total, six off Reds’ righty Anthony DeSclafani (who had posted a 9.00 ERA in his last three starts) and managing just one hit off the relievers that Cincinnati threw out after DeSclafani was done.
Martinez’s squad will try to earn a split of today’s doubleheader in tonight’s nightcap, which features Jeremy Hellickson on the mound for the Nationals against Reds’ right-hander Matt Harvey, formerly of the Mets, who has a 5.13 ERA on the season heading into the third game of the series and second game of the day in D.C.
Hellickson is looking to bounce back from a less-than-impressive start on the road in Miami last week which saw him give up eight hits and five runs, three earned, in just 4 2⁄3 IP.
Will the Nats erase the memory of this afternoon’s disappointing game in tonight’s matchup or will they fall back to .500?