Washington Nationals Series Preview: Nats Vs. Reds (7/6-7/8)
By Ricky Keeler
Jun 16, 2015; Detroit, MI, USA; Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher Michael Lorenzen (50) pitches in the first inning against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
Michael Lorenzen (3-3, 3.58) vs. Gio Gonzalez (6-4, 4.16) – 7:05 PM ET, MASN
Lorenzen is a 23-year-old rookie who has pitched well since entering the Cincinnati rotation against the Nats on May 31. He has given up more than three runs once over the course of seven starts. Against the Nats, he gave up two runs on one hit in 6.1 innings to get the win back in May, but he did walk six batters.
In his last start against the Brewers on July 3, the right-hander went four innings, gave up three runs on five hits, struck out three, and walked two in a loss. Like DeSclafani, Lorenzen has also struggled with command. He has 35 walks this season and has walked two or more hitters in eight of his last ten appearances.
In his last start on Friday against the Giants, Gio Gonzalez was able to shake off not getting a full outing since June 21. He went seven innings, gave up one run on five hits, and struck out six to win his second straight start. Plus, he did not walk a batter for the first time this season.
The only mistake Gonzalez made in that game came in the seventh inning when Buster Posey hit a solo home run against him. Over his last 14 innings, the left-hander has given up one run on nine hits and struck out ten batters. With Strasburg out, there’s more pressure on Gonzalez to consistently give the Nats six innings of work.
Gonzalez did face the Reds back on May 30 and had a rough start. He went 5.1 innings, gave up four runs on seven hits, struck out six, and walked two in a no-decision. Plus, he did get hit by a pitch in that game by Raisel Iglesias in the fifth inning. Joey Votto is 5-for-12 against him with two home runs and four RBI’s.
Advantage: While the Nats are on a roll right now at home, I am never one to predict sweeps. Lorenzen does have an issue with walking a lot of hitters, but he did keep the damage down in that first start against Washington. As for Gonzalez, I want to see if he can put three consistent starts together. This might be a game where the Reds offense hits a couple out of the park to win a 7-4 kind of game, but the Nats still take two out of three.