WASHINGTON — There has not been a lot of positive news around the last-place Cincinnati Reds this year, but slugger Adam Duvall and pitcher Anthony DeSclafani are two of them.
Duvall shares the National League lead in home runs at 22 with Chicago’s Kris Bryant while DeSclafani makes his fifth start of the season Friday when he faces the first-place Washington Nationals and Tanner Roark in the second game of the series.
Coverage begins at 5:30 p.m. on FOX Sports Ohio
DeSclafani is 2-0 with a 1.52 ERA this season. In his last start, he went a career-high eight innings and gave up five hits and no runs while throwing a season-high 117 pitches in a 3-0 victory over the San Diego Padres.
The New Jersey native is 1-0 with a 2.35 ERA in five games in his career against Washington. He pitched out of the bullpen three times for the Miami Marlins against the Nationals in 2014 and made two starts last year with the Reds.
"He has commanded the bottom of the strike zone on both sides of the plate," Reds manager Bryan Price said Thursday. "His best two pitches are his fastball and slider but the ability to create speed separation with his changeup and curveball has been a big part of his success."
The right-hander has bounced back since he lasted only 2 2/3 innings on June 15 as he gave up six hits and four runs in a 9-8 loss in 13 innings to the Atlanta Braves, though he did not figure in the decision.
DeSclafani has also made five minor league rehab starts this year. He began the season on the disabled list with a strained left oblique suffered in his final spring training outing.
He made his major league debut in 2014 with the Miami Marlins.
The Reds need a good outing as Brandon Finnegan couldn’t get out of the third inning on Thursday when the Nationals hit three homers in a 13-4 victory. Shortstop Danny Espinosa hit two of the homers — one from each side of the plate.
Roark, the Washington starter Friday, is 3-1 with a 2.30 ERA in his last four starts.
The Nationals used a starting pitcher — top prospect Lucas Giolito — for the first time on Tuesday who was not part of the five-man rotation to the start the year.
Stephen Strasburg (10-0) went on the disabled list Sunday. When will he return?
"At this point, we still have half of the year to go. I’m more inclined not to rush him. I’m not in a hurry, personally," said Dusty Baker, the Washington manager.
Roark won 15 games as a starter in 2014 and split last season between the bullpen and the rotation as Max Scherzer supplanted him in the rotation.