Reds-Nationals Preview

While the Cincinnati Reds hope their recent success at Great

American Ballpark will carry over and end their struggles on the

road, the Washington Nationals continue to search for a way to stop

their current home slide.

The Reds can avoid a sixth straight road loss by handing the

Nationals a seventh consecutive home defeat Thursday night.

Mat Latos allowed four hits over seven innings and Todd Frazier

belted his team-leading sixth home run Wednesday as Cincinnati

(13-9) concluded an 8-2 homestand Wednesday with a 1-0 win over the

Chicago Cubs. The Reds allowed an average 2.3 runs during the stay,

and hope to get the same effort from their pitching staff when they

begin a 10-game trip to Washington (10-11), St. Louis and


Cincinnati beat St. Louis 13-4 in its first road game but has

yielded 34 runs while dropping the next five away from home.

“We have to (improve) our road record,” manager Dusty Baker told

the Reds’ official website. “It’s a very, very tough road trip

we’re about to go on.”

A stop in Washington might provide a good opportunity for the

Reds to avoid their first six-game road skid since Sept. 5-17,

2010. Cincinnati outscored the Nationals 27-10 while taking two of

three at home April 5-7.

Washington also has scored four runs during its four-game

overall skid, all against the visiting Cardinals this week. The

Nationals outscored Miami and the Chicago White Sox 31-14 to win

their first six home games but have been outscored 27-9 by Atlanta

and St. Louis while losing the last six there.

“Somebody said (Tuesday night) it feels like we’re 0-20. But

it’s not that bad. We’re only one game under .500, and it’s April.

We’ll be all right,” said Jayson Werth, who homered in Wednesday’s

4-2 loss to St. Louis. “What we’re going through: It’s the first

time this team has dealt with expectations, and there’s something

to be said about that. But we’ll adjust.”

The Nationals, who dropped seven straight at home May 15-20,

2010, could see some changes in Thursday’s lineup. Manager Davey

Johnson expects to start reserve infielder Steve Lombardozzi, who

his batting .345 (10 for 29).

“We’re just not doing the things we’re capable of doing right

now,” Johnson said. “It’ll change, but I’m going to have to jumble

things up a little bit. Try to light a fire.”

The Nationals hope to get back on track against scheduled Reds

starter Bronson Arroyo (2-1, 3.54 ERA), who has an 0-1 record in

his last three starts at Washington but a 2.11 ERA. The

right-hander allowed two runs in eight innings in each of his last

two starts, most recently a 3-2, 13-inning win over Miami on


Washington counters with Gio Gonzalez (1-1, 5.85), who has

yielded 12 runs, 12 hits and walked seven in nine innings while

going 0-1 in his last two starts. All five runs he allowed Saturday

at Citi Field came in the fourth inning of a 7-6 victory over the


The left-hander has given up two earned runs, struck out 25 and

walked five in 19 innings while going 1-0 in three starts versus


Batting .392 this season, Cincinnati’s Shin-Soo Choo is 5 for 15

(.333) with three doubles against Gonzalez. He went 5 for 12 with

two homers and two RBIs against the Nationals this month.

Werth is batting .362 with six homers and 15 RBIs in his last 24

games versus Cincinnati.