Reds vs. Nationals: Pitching preview, prediction, and more

WASHINGTON, DC - AUGUST 14: Juan Soto #22 of the Washington Nationals slides into third base against the Cincinnati Reds at Nationals Park on August 14, 2019 in Washington, DC. (Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - AUGUST 14: Juan Soto #22 of the Washington Nationals slides into third base against the Cincinnati Reds at Nationals Park on August 14, 2019 in Washington, DC. (Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images) /
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Pitching coach Derek Johnson #36 of the Cincinnati Reds.
MIAMI, FLORIDA – AUGUST 27: Pitching coach Derek Johnson #36 of the Cincinnati Reds. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

Reds’ pitching coach is looking for answers.

Since arriving before the 2019 season, the Cincinnati Reds and pitching coach Derek Johnson have relied on excellent starting pitching and an adequate bullpen to achieve success. It’s a formula that worked in 2020 as the Reds overcame a league-worst offensive performance to qualify for the postseason for the first time in seven years.

The script has been flipped for the 2021 campaign as the Reds offense is second in the National League with a .249 team batting average but has a league-worst 5.15 team ERA. No matter where Johnson turns, danger is lurking.

Cincinnati starters have the second-worst ERA in the senior circuit, and their 1.42 WHIP is the poorest among all NL starting units. Unfortunately, the bullpen has provided nothing remotely close to relief.

Reds’ firemen have compiled a 5.34 ERA, and their 103 bases on balls trail only the St. Louis Cardinals relief corps. Next, the 10 holds collected by the Cincinnati bullpen are the fewest in the league. Derek Johnson has more than proven his worth over the past two seasons in the Queen City, but he’s not a magician.

Prediction

Losers of six of their last seven, the challenge does not get any easier for the Cincinnati Reds. The prospect of facing Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg is the last thing this team needs, but that’s exactly what’s staring them in the face.

Next. 5 Reds prospects poised to join next year's rotation

Unfortunately, the Reds tailspin will continue as the Nationals take two of three and leave the Redlegs fighting for their lives before Memorial Day arrives as they visit the Windy City to battle the Chicago Cubs over the holiday weekend.