After a rough stretch, the Cincinnati Reds’ pitching seems to be settling down. Bronson Arroyo(notes) was a part of their recent struggles, but a matchup with the Washington Nationals may help him get back on track.
Arroyo looks to extend a 15-inning scoreless streak versus the Nationals as he takes the mound for the Reds in the decisive game of a three-game series Sunday.
Cincinnati (32-24) avoided a third straight loss with a 5-1 win over Washington (27-30) on Saturday night. It was the Reds’ second win in six games.
Despite the slump, Cincinnati is one game behind first-place St. Louis in the NL Central. Another strong pitching effort would certainly help the Reds’ bid to at least keep pace.
Cincinnati held Washington hitless in six at-bats with runners in scoring position Saturday after surrendering two earned runs in a 4-2 loss Friday night in the series opener. The Reds had an 8.64 ERA in their previous three games, walking 19 in 25 innings.
Arroyo (5-3, 4.92 ERA) was Cincinnati’s first starter during that stretch, surrendering seven runs, a season-high 10 hits and five walks in 4 1-3 innings of a 12-4 loss to St. Louis on Monday night. Arroyo had won four straight starts and was 5-0 with a 2.66 ERA in his past six.
“I didn’t have the greatest command the whole day,” Arroyo said.
The veteran right-hander now faces a Nationals team that has been limited to 10 runs in its last four contests.
Arroyo has not allowed a run in winning his last two starts versus the Nationals and has held them scoreless in four of six outings. In the other two starts, though, Arroyo allowed 13 runs in 3 2-3 innings.
Washington will give the ball to Craig Stammen(notes) (1-2, 5.88), winless since beating Colorado on April 19. The right-hander did not get a decision for a third straight start Tuesday night, when he gave up five runs and nine hits in five innings of an 8-7 loss to Houston.
Stammen, a native of Ohio who starred at Dayton, is facing the Reds for the first time.
Nationals pitchers have a 2.34 ERA over the last four games, but the club has committed 10 errors during that span, contributing to nine unearned runs. The Nationals have lost 12 of 15 on the road and 15 of 22 overall.
Catcher Wil Nieves(notes) committed one of Washington’s three errors in this series’ middle game. Nieves, who has gotten most of the playing time with Ivan Rodriguez(notes) (back) on the disabled list, lost his backup after Carlos Maldonado(notes) was placed on the 15-day DL on Saturday due to a fractured right thumb.
The Nationals added Jamie Burke(notes) from Triple-A Syracuse on Saturday, and he may get a start due to the quick turnaround between games. Burke was hitting .278 for Syracuse and is a career .277 hitter in seven major league seasons.