The Cincinnati Reds and Washington Nationals are going to get to know each other quite well on Thursday.
The Reds’ game on Wednesday in Washington D.C. was suspended in the bottom of the fourth inning after a rain delay with the Nationals leading 3-0. That game will resume Thursday afternoon as part of a split doubleheader, with the second contest now scheduled for seven innings.
The Reds will then travel to Chicago to face the Cubs on Friday afternoon.
Cincinnati, which is already without Wade Miley (left foot), could find itself down another starting pitcher after Jeff Hoffman left Wednesday’s game early with right shoulder soreness.
The Nationals struck quickly with two runs in the first inning. Starlin Castro had an RBI single before Alex Avila walked with the bases loaded.
Hoffman called for the team trainer and exited the game after 1 1/3 innings and 46 pitches. He walked five and did not record a strikeout.
Nationals starter Joe Ross, who was seeking to keep his rotation spot, hit a two-out RBI single in the bottom of the third inning to score Josh Harrison. Ross gave up three hits, walked one and struck out four on 55 pitches over four scoreless innings.
“I felt like I was a little more back on track than the last couple games, and fastball felt good, had some good sliders, only threw a couple changeups, but some of them I felt pretty good about,” Ross said. “So it is what it is, but overall I felt good about how I threw the ball.”
The Nationals are expected to send Stephen Strasburg (1-1, 4.11 ERA) out to make his second start since returning from the injured list in Thursday’s second game.
Strasburg allowed one hit in 5 1/3 scoreless innings against the Baltimore Orioles on Friday. He struck out four and walked four while making his first start since April 13 after being sidelined with right shoulder inflammation.
“It’s not where I want it to be, but it’s a step in the right direction,” Strasburg said last Friday after his start. “From an execution standpoint, there’s definitely some room for improvement.”
Strasburg is 5-1 with a 4.25 ERA in 10 career starts against the Reds.
Strasburg will oppose another former All-Star in Sonny Gray (0-3, 3.96 ERA), who is still chasing his first victory of the season.
Gray is 1-1 with a 4.34 ERA in five career starts against the Nationals, but won his only previous start at Nationals Park.
Gray delivered a quality start in his last outing Saturday against the Milwaukee Brewers, allowing three runs on five hits and four walks while striking out eight in six innings. The Reds eventually fell 4-3, but it was Gray’s second-longest outing in seven starts this season.
“It was just average,” Gray said about his outing. “There were too many walks.”
The Reds will be without infielder/outfielder Nick Senzel for about four-to-six weeks after undergoing arthroscopic surgery on his left knee.
“Once they go in and they know the extent of it, we’ll have a better idea of that,” Reds manager David Bell said of the timeline for Senzel’s return to action.
–Field Level Media
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