Washington Nationals (56-44) vs. Cincinnati Reds (51-51)
Saturday, July 26, 2014: 4:10 p.m. at Great American Ball Park
Salary-wise, Gonzalez is considered to be the Nationals ace. If he could simply cut down on his walks, he would be one of the premier pitchers in the league. Having walked 36 in 86.2 innings, he still strikes out better than a batter per inning to help his cause.
The Reds have not seen Gonzalez in 2014, but he has dominated them in the past. In four starts, he has allowed all of three earned runs over 27 innings, posting a sparkling 1.00 ERA. He is 2-0 with a 0.70 WHIP, and again, better than a strikeout per inning.
Before his last two outings, he had been on a three consecutive start streak of not allowing a run. Then, the All-Star break hit. His most recent outing lasted only 3.1 innings and 88 pitches before he was pulled. With that factored in, Gonzalez should be plenty rested, especially coming off a disabled list stint earlier in the year.
Here is the lineup Gonzalez will face the via the Reds’ Twitter account:
CF – Billy Hamilton (yet to face Gonzalez)
3B – Ramon Santiago (2-for-4, 1 2B, 2 RBI)
1B – Todd Frazier (0-for-3, 1 K)
RF – Jay Bruce (2-for-8, 2 2B’s, 3 K’s)
LF – Chris Heisey (0-for-6, 3 K’s)
2B – Skip Schumaker (0-for-3)
C – Brayan Pena (2-for-5, 2 K’s)
SS – Zack Cozart (1-for-9, 1 RBI, 3 K’s)
P – Johnny Cueto (yet to face Gonzalez)
The weight that the man dubbed “Johnny Beisbol” carries on his shoulders is bigger than ever. Still leading Major League baseball in innings pitched, the Reds will continue to ask Cueto to be their stopper and dominate each time he takes to the hill.
Cueto has a National League leading low of 5.9 hits/per 9 IP, yet the last time he took the mound against Washington, there were a whole lot of hits. Six in just 5.1, but that came at the price of eight runs. That start on May 20 was Cueto’s first non-quality start of the year, ending a stretch of nine straight.
While the win-loss record of 5-3 in nine career starts against Washington is impressive, his 4.58 ERA and six home runs allowed are not. Cueto is “lights out” when the sun is out, but he may need help from more than the solar system on Saturday afternoon.
Here is the lineup Cueto will face via the Nationals’ Twitter account:
CF – Denard Span (4-for-7, 2 BB’s)
3B – Anthony Rendon (0-for-1, 1 RBI)
RF – Jayson Werth (6-for-23, 1 RBI, 3 K’s)
1B – Adam LaRoche (2-for-13, 1 RBI, 6 K’s)
SS – Ian Desmond (3-for-16, 1 2B, 7 K’s)
LF – Bryce Harper (1-for-3, 1 K)
C – Wilson Ramos (1-for-3)
2B – Kevin Frandsen (2-for-7, 1 K)
P – Gio Gonzalez (yet to face Cueto)
With a seven-game losing streak threatening whatever chance the Cincinnati Reds had at the Postseason, it becomes imperative they get a strong start out of their ace, Johnny Cueto. A Saturday afternoon down at the ballpark should make for a tremendous atmosphere—one that would be much more electric with a Reds win.