Washington Nationals Series Preview: Nationals at Reds (5/29-5/31)

3 of 4

May 24, 2015; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Nationals starting pitcher Gio Gonzalez (47) throws to the Philadelphia Phillies during the second inning at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Gio Gonzalez (4-2, 4.53 ERA) vs. Raisel Iglesias (1-1, 4.26 ERA) – 4:10 PM ET, MASN2

For the second of a three-game set, the Nats trot out Gio Gonzalez to face Raisel Iglesias. Gio has been a bit inconstant this year and has given up a few more runs than he is used to as evident by his 4.53 ERA.

He recovered nicely his last outing against the Phillies, going 6.1 innings and giving up one run on seven hits. Gio seems to be suffering the same bad luck this year as Stras as his BABIP is almost as high at .385. His contact rate is up a tick this year from 76.8% to 80.3%, but his FIP, at 2.92, and high BABIP show he is a better pitcher than his ERA might reflect.

Gio went seven and gave up one run in his only appearance against the Reds last year (July 26), but the Nats lost that game, 1-0. He has fared well against Brandon Phillips,  giving up just one hit in eight at-bats.

The Reds will start the rookie from Cuba, Raisel Iglesias. Iglesias started the year in Triple-A and quickly got the call up to fill some holes in the Reds’ bullpen and starting rotation. Iglesias has three starts on the year and was very impressive against the Braves on May 13, giving up one run on two hits in eight inning of work. He sports a low 90’s fastball; slider, change and curve all coming in the low 80s. He has a plus fastball and, when his slider is on, he can be very effective.

Obviously, the Nationals have not faced Iglesias, so it is difficult to tell how well the rookie will match up against the Nats lineup. I think it might take the Nats a few times through the order to pick up the rotation and the release point for Iglesias, but the talent level will most likely overwhelm Iglesias before the night is over.

Advantage: Gio Gonzlez

Gio is the obvious choice over the rookie Iglesias and he should shine against this terrible Reds’ lineup. However, Gio has struggled a bit the second and third time through the order. He seems to hit the fourth inning and become unable to find the plate. Gio needs to avoid a middle inning melt down like his Yankees outing if he wants to pick up his fifth win of the year.

The Nats should be fine against Iglesias, but you never know when a talented rookie could have a big night and go eight innings and give up only two hits. I think the Nats will have an easy go of this one and go into the series finale with a good chance to win their tenth series in a row.

Next: Sunday's Matchup