Washington at Cincinnati

Venue: Great American Ball Park
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The Cincinnati Reds believed they were getting a pitcher with the ability to dominate when they acquired Mat Latos in the offseason.

They may have felt some remorse after his first few starts but probably not anymore.

Coming off his first overpowering outing with his new team, Latos looks to help the Reds avoid a fifth loss in six games to the Washington Nationals on Saturday night.

Cincinnati (16-15) paid a steep price in acquiring Latos from San Diego in December, sending starting pitcher Edinson Volquez and three highly regarded prospects to the Padres.

While trading prospects is always a gamble, the Reds felt they were finally filling the role of No. 1 starter - something the team has lacked for years.

Latos struck out 185 in 194 innings last year and his 9-14 record was more indicative of San Diego's offense than his pitching ability. He was 14-10 with a 2.92 ERA and 189 strikeouts in 184 2-3 innings in 2010, finishing eighth in the NL Cy Young voting.

The right-hander looked nothing like an ace in his first three starts with the Reds, going 0-2 with an 8.22 ERA. He's been far better his past three outings, winning two decisions with a 2.33 ERA.

Latos (2-2, 4.93) was superb in a 5-0 victory at Pittsburgh on Sunday, striking out a career-high 11 and pitching two-hit ball over six innings despite dealing with a queasy stomach.

"Sometimes when guys don't feel quite right, a lot of times they throw their best games," manager Dusty Baker said. "You settle down, you're concentrating, you try not to overthrow because you don't have the strength to do so."

He's 3-1 with a 2.43 ERA in five starts against the Nationals, limiting them to two runs over five innings on April 12 before leaving without a decision.

Although Washington (20-12) leads the NL East, that's due largely to stellar pitching and not an offense that ranks near the bottom of the league in runs, batting average and slugging percentage. The Nationals, however, had no such problems in Friday's series opener, matching a season high for runs in a 7-3 victory.

"The hitting was unbelievable," winning pitcher Gio Gonzalez said. "The defense was incredible. The bullpen showed up and came through for me again."

Roger Bernadina and Danny Espinosa - both batting under .200 before Friday - each hit two-run homers to help Washington improve to 4-1 against Cincinnati. Nationals starters have a 1.36 ERA with one homer allowed in those five games.

Washington could be without rookie outfielder Bryce Harper for the next two games. The 19-year-old went 0 for 5 with three strikeouts Friday and took a frustrated whack at one of the walls in the tunnel after one of the outs.

Manager Davey Johnson said the barrel of the bat bounced off the wall and hit Harper next to the left eye, causing a gash and a welt. He stayed in the game with it bandaged, but was sent for treatment afterward because it was bleeding.

"He probably needs a stitch or two in it, so he'll be down for a couple of days," Johnson said.

The Reds lost the opener of their longest stretch of games this season without a day off - 20 games in 20 days.

Washington scored two less runs Friday than it has in Jordan Zimmermann's six starts this season. Zimmermann (1-3, 2.29 ERA) received one or no runs for the fifth time in Sunday's 9-3 loss to Philadelphia as his run support average dropped to 2.06 - among the worst in the league.

The right-hander did record another quality start, allowing three runs and seven hits over six-plus innings while matching a career high with four walks. He had not walked more than two in 30 straight outings.

Zimmermann is 1-0 with a 2.12 ERA in three starts versus Cincinnati.

Copyright 2015 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
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Probable Starters

Jordan Zimmermann, RHP
2012 stats
39.1 Innings Pitched 34.2
1-3 Wins-Losses 2-2
2.29 Earned Run Average 4.93
7 Walks 13
23 Strikeouts 29
0.0 Pitches Per Start 0.0
Career vs. opponent
17.0 Innings Pitched 29.2
1-0 Wins-Losses 3-1
2.12 Earned Run Average 2.43

Mat Latos, RHP
Weather
weather image  Light rain late. High level clouds. Mild.
Hi TempLo TempWindHumidityPrecip %
75°F46°F3mph/S33%58%
Standings
TeamStandingsWLPct.GBL 10Strk
Washington1st NL East9666.593-8-2 W 2
Cincinnati4th NL Central7686.469145-5 W 2
BATTER VS. PITCHER (Career)
vs Mat Latos
PlayerABHHRBBSOAVG
Gonzalez21000.500
Desmond83010.375
Zimmerman113110.273
LaRoche113133.273
Bernadina102003.200
 
BATTER VS. PITCHER (Career)
vs Jordan Zimmermann
PlayerABHHRBBSOAVG
Hanigan85000.625
Phillips42011.500
Votto63120.500
Frazier21001.500
Cueto21001.500
 

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Game Odds
AwayLineHomeLine
Washington 105 Cincinnati -115
Injuries
Washington
PlayerInjury
E. DavisElbow
T. JordanElbow
N. McLouthShoulder
R. OhlendorfBack
M. PurkeElbow
Cincinnati
PlayerInjury
D. AxelrodOblique
H. BaileyElbow, neck
T. BellElbow
M. LatosElbow
S. MarshallShoulder
S. SchumakerShoulder
J. VottoQuadriceps
 
Series Game Log
DateatResult/TimeWinnerLoser
Apr 6CIN 4:10 PM EDT  
Apr 8CIN 7:10 PM EDT  
Apr 9CIN12:35 PM EDT  
May 5PIT 7:05 PM EDT  
May 6PIT 7:05 PM EDT  
May 7PIT 7:05 PM EDT  
Jun 23PIT 7:05 PM EDT  
Jun 24PIT 7:05 PM EDT  
Jun 25PIT 7:05 PM EDT  
Jul 30CIN 7:10 PM EDT  
Jul 31CIN 7:10 PM EDT  
Aug 1CIN   
Aug 2CIN 1:10 PM EDT  
Sep 7CIN 1:10 PM EDT  
Sep 8CIN 7:10 PM EDT  
Sep 9CIN 7:10 PM EDT  
Oct 2PIT 7:05 PM EDT  
Oct 3PIT 7:05 PM EDT  
Oct 4PIT 1:35 PM EDT